Ki­wis look to spin for Proteas Tests

New Straits Times - - Sport -

WELLING­TON: New Zealand have boosted their spin op­tions against South Africa by in­clud­ing Jee­tan Pa­tel in a 13-man squad for the three-Test se­ries against the Proteas be­gin­ning next week.

Off-spin­ner Pa­tel and all­rounder Jimmy Nee­sham were the two play­ers re­called to the squad yes­ter­day, com­ing in at the ex­pense of quick Matt Henry and bats­man Dean Brown­lie.

Se­lec­tors also con­firmed that short-ball spe­cial­ist Neil Wag­ner was fit for the se­ries af­ter a hand in­jury last month put him un­der an in­jury cloud.

As ex­pected, there was no room for open­ing bat Martin Gup­till, de­spite his un­beaten 180 this week in the fourth one-day in­ter­na­tional against the Proteas in Hamil­ton.

Pa­tel, 36, has had a stop-start 21-Test ca­reer, mak­ing his de­but in 2006 but drop­ping off the radar from 2013-2016 be­fore join­ing the Black Caps’ tour of In­dia.

Af­ter re­turn­ing home, he was dis­carded again for Test se­ries against Pak­istan and Bangladesh but has en­joyed a strong do­mes­tic sea­son with Welling­ton.

Chief se­lec­tor Gavin Larsen said Pa­tel had the abil­ity to turn the ball away from South Africa’s left-han­ders, com­ple­ment­ing fel­low spin­ner Mitchell Sant­ner.

“He brings a huge amount of ex­pe­ri­ence to the team and gives us the bal­ance of hav­ing two front­line spin op­tions,” Larsen said.

The first Test be­gins in Dunedin on Wed­nes­day fol­lowed by two more in Welling­ton and Hamil­ton later this month.

Be­fore then, the Black Caps and South Africa face-off in an Auck­land de­cider today for the one-day se­ries, which is cur­rently locked at 2-2.

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