NZ swing the axe for Pakistan series
Black Caps make big changes for series against Pakistan, with Martin Guptill discarded after lean patch of form
10 November 2016, 12:06 PM AEST
Domestic teammates Jeet Raval and Colin de Grandhomme are in line for Test debuts after New Zealand's Test selectors swung the axe for the home series against Pakistan.
Opening batsman Martin Guptill is out having gone 10 matches and almost a year without a Test century while one-Test legspinner Todd Astle leapfrogs a host of other tweakers for the two-Test series starting in Christchurch next week.
Opener Raval and allrounder de Grandhomme, who played five limited-overs internationals in 2012, have shown enough form for Auckland to sway a selection panel clearly in the mood for change following the 3-0 series loss in India.
Raval, 28, was in the Black Caps squad which toured Africa this year but was unused in any of the four Tests before being dropped for the Indian series.
He replaces Guptill, whose lean trot continued in India, pushing his Test average below 30. His 72 in the third Test at Indore was just his second half-century in 16 innings this year.
That knock and an unbeaten century for Auckland this week weren't enough to rescue the 30-year-old, who is a world class limited-overs performer.
A surprise inclusion, Harare-born de Grandhomme effectively replaces wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi, who performed a middle-order batting role in India.
The 30-year-old has scored more than 4000 runs in 83 first-class games and taken 123 wickets with his right-arm seamers at an average just over 30.
He is likely to contend with Jimmy Neesham for the No.6 allrounder slot.
In-form Cantabrian Astle's only Test was four years ago in Colombo when he claimed a wicket in a win over Sri Lanka.
His domestic output has been compelling over recent seasons and has continued this summer, most notably in two Plunket Shield games at the venue for the first Test, Hagley Oval.
The 30-year-old benefits from a wrist injury suffered by Mitchell Santner in training last week, while offspinner Mark Craig remains unavailable with a side strain.
Spinners Ish Sodhi and Jeetan Patel, who were inconsistent in India, have both been dropped.
A sixth player missing from the India series is seamer Doug Bracewell, who makes way for fit-again Tim Southee.
Astle and de Grandhomme have been pulled out of the New Zealand A team to play a three-day warm-up match against Pakistan starting in Nelson on Friday.
Their places are taken by Luke Woodcock and Kyle Jamieson.
New Zealand Test squad Kane Williamson (c), Tom Latham, Jeet Raval, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, Colin de Grandhomme, Jimmy Neesham, BJ Watling, Todd Astle, Matt Henry, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult
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