New Zealand squad for Australia Tests announced, Daryl Mitchell returns

New Zealand, on Saturday (February 17), announced their squad for the forthcoming two-match Test series against Australia. Apart from the Tests, Australia are also scheduled to play three T20Is against the Trans-Tasman rivals.

The three-match T20I series will kickstart Australia’s tour of New Zealand. The Test series is scheduled to begin on February 29 in Wellington. The second game is scheduled to be played from March 8 in Christchurch. The upcoming Test series will be a special one for Kane Williamson and Tim Southee as both of them are set to enter the 100-Test club.

The current New Zealand captain and his predecessor have played 98 Tests so far. The second Test against Australia will make them only the fifth and sixth players from their country to play 100 Tests. The other New Zealand players to achieve the milestone are Stephen Fleming, Daniel Vettori, Brendon McCullum and Ross Taylor.

“To play 100 Tests for your country is an incredible achievement,” said head coach Gary Stead.

“It takes a huge amount of longevity and skill, and to keep improving and to manage the demands of Test cricket over a long period of time is a testament to their character.

“Tim and Kane continue to be brilliant servants of the game in New Zealand and influential figures in the BLACKCAPS environment. Their achievements at Test level speak for themselves and they are undoubtedly two of the greatest players to have ever worn the New Zealand Test shirt,” he added.

New Zealand squad for Australia Tests:

Williamson and Southee are part of the 14-man New Zealand squad announced for the series against Australia. Daryl Mitchell, who was recently rested for the second Test against South Africa and the upcoming T20I series against Australia, has returned to the Test squad.

The Black Caps have also called up Scott Kuggeleijn to replace Kyle Jamieson who was ruled out of the entire season due to a back injury. Kuggeleijn made his Test debut against England in February last year and has played just one Test so far. He recently impressed for New Zealand A as well as in domestic first-class competition.

“Scott performed admirably with both bat and ball on the recent New Zealand A tour to Australia. He will bring genuine pace with the ball and adds extra depth with the bat which is always valuable at Test level,” said selector Sam Wells.

“Everything is tracking well with Daryl. The decision to give him a period of rehabilitation was necessary and will allow him to be at his best for what is an important series for the team.

“He’s a key member of the group and has proven, with his performances over the past 12 to 18 months, how much value he adds to the Test team. Daryl will keep focusing on his rehabilitation over the next week and will be fit and ready for the first Test in Wellington,” he added.

The rest of the New Zealand squad is the same as the team that recently clean-swept the two-match Test series against South Africa. It was New Zealand’s first-ever Test series win over the Proteas. The Black Caps will be looking to make the most of the momentum and register a famous series win over the Aussies.

New Zealand Test squad:

Tim Southee (c), Tom Blundell (wk), Devon Conway, Matt Henry, Scott Kuggeleijn, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Will O’Rourke, Glenn Phillips, Rachin Ravindra, Mitchell Santner, Neil Wagner, Kane Williamson, Will Young.

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