New Zealand has appointed a lineup of 20 players to tour England, with three intact stars in the group.
Versatile Rachin Ravindra, swing bowler Jacob Duffy and Devon Conway have been named to the team for a series of two tests starting June 2 at Lords.
It’s the first time Ravindra or Duffy has been included on the test team, while this is Conway’s first inclusion in the squad after he was called up in December as cover for future father Kane Williamson.
As reinforcements for the Black Caps, versatile Colin de Grandhomme and left-handed finger spinner Ajaz Patel are returning due to injuries. Doug Bracewell is also returning to the squad after last playing a test match in 2016.
De Grandhomme (ankle), Bracewell (hip) and Ross Taylor (knee tendon) will all have to prove their ability before entering a flight to England.
NZ lineup: Kane Williamson (c), Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Devon Conway, Colin de Grandhomme, Jacob Duffy, Matt Henry, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Henry Nicholls, Ajaz Patel, Rachin Ravindra, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling (Sunday), Will Young
Bracewell’s choice comes after he averaged 26.20 with the ball and 42.66 with the bat in Plunket Shield’s final season.
“Doug is the winner of the match and we are confident he will enjoy bowling on English pitches in June,” coach Gary Stead said.
“Colin’s injury is progressing well and we hope he will start running again soon. We will follow him closely over the next few weeks to ensure he is on target where he needs to be in order to be able to tour.
“It was nice to see Ajaz play constantly as he plays constantly since he missed the early part of the season and in the past he has proven what he can do if the ball turns.”
The rest of the team is made up of well-known names, and 14 of the 20 performances in the Black Caps test cricket domestic summer.
The squad will be reduced to 15 players for the World Cup testing finals at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton, starting June 18.
New Zealand fans will be well acquainted with Conway, who has shone for the Black Caps in cricket with limited games since making his debut last summer.
The talented left-hander has averaged 59.12 for 14 T20Is and 75 for his three ODIs so far. He was a player of the series in the recent 3-0 ODI white escape of Bangladesh in New Zealand, especially achieving his first international age in the last match.
With a first-class average of 47.21, he looks well-equipped to fight Test Cricket.
If selected for the game, 21-year-old Ravindra will be the youngest Black Caps Test player since 20-year-old Ish Sodhi made his 2013 debut.
Spin-bowling versatile player, Ravindra already has three first-class centuries, including one for New Zealand A.
Duffy, who debuted on the T20I 4/33 in December, has knocked on the door of choice over the past two summers. He took 24 gates at 22.45 in 2019/20 and 28 at 20.14 in 2020/21 in first class cricket.
“We’re overjoyed about Rachin and Jacob,” Stead said.
“I saw first hand how hard these guys worked in our NZC winter training teams and with New Zealand A, so it will really earn them an invitation for the first test for such a special tour.
“Rachin has been named the star of the future since his days under 19 and we are really encouraged by the progress in his game this season, both with the bat and the ball. It’s obviously an opening option, but it also has the ability to hit in the middle order which combined with turning the finger of the left hand makes it a big advantage for our team.
“Jacob was a consistent performer in the home circle and his ability to swing the ball made him a particularly compelling option with the Dukes ball in English conditions.
“Test cricket is really the highlight of the game and I know they are both extremely excited about the opportunity to join the team in England.”
Lockie Ferguson was not considered for the test team as he continues to return after a partial stress fracture on his back.
The team will meet for two training camps in early May before traveling to England in two groups on May 16th and 17th.
Players involved in the IPL will be managed on a case-by-case basis.