Legspinner Ish Sodhi, who last played a Test match four years ago, the uncapped Blair Tickner, and Glenn Phillips, who has one Test cap, have been picked for New Zealand’s tour of Pakistan which begins on December 26.
The two-match series will be Tim Southee’s first assignment as New Zealand’s full-time Test captain after Kane Williamson stepped down from the post earlier on Thursday. It will be Williamson’s first series not as New Zealand captain since February 2016.
While Sodhi has been a regular fixture in New Zealand’s white-ball teams, he’s played only 17 Tests since his debut in 2013, the last of those coming against Pakistan in the UAE in November 2018. Phillips played his only Test so far against Australia at the SCG in January 2020 and made a half-century in the first innings, while Tickner was part of the Test squads for the home series against South Africa and the tour of England but is yet to play a game.

“I know all three of the guys [Sodhi, Phillips, Tickner] have a real passion for the longest form of the game and are looking forward to getting into their red-ball work at the pre-tour camp in Lincoln this week,” New Zealand coach Gary Stead said. “Ish has been playing international cricket for almost a decade now and we’re backing his skills and experience.

“Looking at the current conditions and style of play in the Pakistan and England Test series, we feel having a wristspinner in the team will be important.

“Glenn is clearly a very talented batsman and we’re excited to introduce him back into the Test squad for this tour. His ability to bowl offspin is also a plus point with the prospect of turning pitches.”

“Blair’s been with the group for our past two Test series and we believe he’s very much ready for Test cricket. He has genuine pace and gets good bounce which is a real asset to have in sub-continental conditions.”

New Zealand are touring Pakistan for the first time since 2003 and will be play two Tests starting on December 26 in Karachi and January 3 in Multan.

“It’s going to be a new experience and the kind of challenge that excites this group,” Stead said. “We’ve naturally been keeping an eye on the current Test series against England, particularly the last two Tests of the series held in Multan and Karachi, where we will play.”

Williamson will then take over the captaincy for the three ODIs in Karachi on January 10, 12 and 14, and for the following white-ball tour of India. The squads for those limited-overs series will be announced on December 19.

New Zealand Test squad for the tour of Pakistan: Tim Southee (capt), Michael Bracewell, Tom Blundell (wk), Devon Conway, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Henry Nicholls, Ajaz Patel, Glenn Phillips, Ish Sodhi, Blair Tickner, Neil Wagner, Kane Williamson, Will Young


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