The Black Caps have finalised their 15-man squad to contest the inaugural ICC World Test Championship Final with Ajaz Patel getting the nod as the specialist spinner over Mitchell Santner.
Doug Bracewell, Jacob Duffy, Daryl Mitchell, Rachin Ravindra and Santner are the five players who will drop out from the original 20-player touring squad for the England Test series while the other 15 now prepare to play against India, at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton from Friday.
Patel, who took four wickets in the series-winning Test in Birmingham, has been selected as the specialist spinner, with Colin de Grandhomme the all-rounder and Will Young the specialist batting cover, while Tom Blundell is the back-up wicket-keeper.
Coach Gary Stead noted the contributions of the departing group and thanked them for their efforts over the past month.
“It’s not easy to say goodbye to guys who have given so much to the group."
Stead said some “tough calls” were made, especially when it came to both Santner and Mitchell’s omissions, but that was the by-product of fierce competition.
“We’ve gone with Ajaz as our specialist spinner after an impressive outing at Edgbaston and we believe he could be a factor at the Ageas Bowl.
“Colin’s been an integral member of our Test set-up for many years and it was great to see him return at Lord’s after a long injury lay-off. He’s a proven performer at the top level and we back him to do a job with the bat or the ball if called upon.
“Kane and BJ have certainly benefited from their week of rest and rehabilitation and we expect them to be fit and available for the final.”
Stead added the team are entering the game with a spring in their step.
“Playing in a World Cup Final is a really special occasion and I know the guys are looking forward to getting into their work here in Southampton.
“India are a world class outfit who possess match winners all through their line-up, so we’re under no illusion about how tough they will be to beat.”
Black Caps WTC Final squad
Kane Williamson (c), Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Devon Conway, Colin de Grandhomme, Matt Henry, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Ajaz Patel, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling, Will Young