Published: Thu, March 15, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Mitchell Santner scratched from Blackcaps Test squad to take on England

Mitchell Santner scratched from Blackcaps Test squad to take on England

The first Test - a day-night affair - begins in Auckland next Thursday. Santner's absence will be sorely felt by the Kiwis because it was his all-round performance that stood out in New Zealand's 3-2 ODI series loss.

Wicketkeeper BJ Watling returns after missing the two-Test series against West Indies at the back end of a year ago.

New Zealand coach Mike Hesson said: 'On a personal level everyone feels for Mitchell.

Wicketkeeper BJ Watling has returned to the BLACKCAPS Test side for their two match series against England, which will see New Zealand host its first Day-Night Test.

The slow left-arm bowler was a notable performer with the bat down the order in the recently-concluded one-day worldwide series between the teams, amassing 216 runs including a couple of key fifties. "It's important though that he gets this fixed and we have him back for what is a big next 18 months for us", he added.

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The first Test will be played between 22nd and 26th March.

The 32-year-old, 52-Test veteran has missed the home internationals this summer recovering from a hip injury, which allowed Test replacement Tom Blundell to score a century on debut against the West Indies.

For selectors Larsen and Hesson, Watling's fitness was the only missing piece of the puzzle until Santner's injury worsened. Astle has played only two Tests against Sri Lanka in 2012, and one against Pakistan in November 2016. He's bowled just 35 overs at test level and taken a solitary wicket, but was among the country's top first-class wicket-takers for Canterbury in recent seasons.

A 12 man squad had been named initially, with Mitchell Santner ruled out for the series with a knee injury. "They have match winners throughout their squad so we expect a challenging series".

New Zealand Test squad for England: Kane Williamson (c), Todd Astle, Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Jeet Raval, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling (wk).

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