Black caps will be without all-rounder Mitchell Santner for the two-match Test series against England. Kiwis all-rounder Santner will thus miss the first-ever Day-Night game in New Zealand from March 22. Santner's knee trouble is a long-standing one and could come in the way of his IPL stint with Chennai Super Kings over the next couple of months and his County season with Derbyshire.
In the 12-man squad named by New Zealand Cricket, Todd Astle is the lone spinner. The all-round qualities of the 31-year-old has earned him the nod ahead of the other competitors like Ish Sodhi to replace the outgoing Santner. "Having another spin bowling allrounder in Todd [Astle] is of real benefit for us and he'll be looking forward to his opportunity," New Zealand selector Gavin Larsen said.
The series will also see the return of wicket keeper-batsman BJ Watling, who missed the tour of Windies due to a hip injury. Watling is expected to take his first-team spot back in the series despite the presence of both the wicketkeeper in the squad. In some positive news for the hosts, in-form senior pro Ross Taylor is likely to be fit in time for the series after skipping the decider in the ODI series in Christchurch with a thigh injury.
New Zealand Test Squad: Kane Williamson (c), Todd Astle, Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme,BJ Watling (wk), Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Jeet Raval, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner,