WELLINGTON: Senior New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor has been ruled out of next week’s first Test against Australia, putting rising batting star Henry Nicholls in line for his debut.
However, leading strike bowler Tim Southee, who suffered a foot injury in the New Year series against Sri Lanka, has been declared fit to resume international duties.
The squad announced Friday on the eve of the second ODI against Australia also includes Matt Henry, New Zealand’s form bowler in limited overs cricket, and Corey Anderson who missed the November Test series in Australia.
Taylor continues to struggle with a side strain suffered during a Twenty20 match against Pakistan last month.
“Henry has been very impressive the way he’s made the step up to international cricket and we’re confident of the job he can do for us in the top order,” coach Mike Hesson said.
Nicholls’ international career consists of eight ODIs with an impressive 61 against Australia in Auckland on Wednesday when New Zealand won by 159 runs.
Hesson said Southee, who forms a potent new-ball attack with Trent Boult, was New Zealand’s most experienced bowler and “we’re excited to have him fit and a part of our pace bowling attack.
“Matt also comes back into the squad after some really strong performances throughout the summer, and with Corey’s return we now have a number of seam bowling options to consider.
“It’s well documented how good a Test side Australia are and we know it will take some exceptional cricket for us to have a chance of taking out the series,” Hesson said
Wicketkeeper BJ Watling, who has a back injury, was included in the squad but with Luke Ronchi named as cover.
The first Test starts in Wellington on February 12 with the second and final Test in Christchurch from February 20.
New Zealand’s squad for the first Test: Brendon McCullum (capt), Corey Anderson, Doug Bracewell, Trent Boult, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling and Kane Williamson. Luke Ronchi as wicketkeeper cover.