New Zealand pick In­dian born opener for Africa tour

Pakistan Observer - - SPORTS -

WELLING­TON—New Zealand on Fri­day named In­dian-born open­ing bats­man Jeet Raval in the squad for the up­com­ing four-Test tour of Zim­babwe and South Africa.

Raval was the only un­capped player named in the 16-man Black Caps’ squad, which also fea­tures the re­call of In­dian-born spin­ner Ish Sodhi af­ter a two year ab­sence.

The 27-year-old Raval was a ju­nior player in India be­fore mov­ing to New Zealand with his fam­ily in 2004.

He av­er­ages 43.85 in first-class cricket and hit a rich vein of form for the Auckland Aces in this year’s do­mes­tic com­pe­ti­tion, in­clud­ing an un­beaten 202 against Otago.

“In the past 12 months we’ve seen his ma­tu­rity and de­ci­sion-mak­ing con­tinue to im­prove,” Black Caps coach Mike Hes­son said.

“He’s learnt to adapt to con­di­tions and has per­formed well for New Zealand A, so we be­lieve he’s more than ready to make the step up to the in­ter­na­tional arena.”

Raval will be com­pet­ing for an open­ing spot with Martin Gup­till and Tom Latham, nei­ther of whom have looked con­vinc­ing against the new ball in the Test arena.

New Zealand will play two Tests against Zim­babwe in Harare, start­ing on July 29 and Au­gust 6 re­spec­tively.

They then go to South Africa for Tests in Dur­ban and Cen­tu­rion, start­ing on Au­gust 19 and Au­gust 27. New Zealand squad: Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Mark Craig, Martin Gup­till, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Henry Ni­cholls, Luke Ronchi, Jeet Raval, Mitchell Sant­ner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Tay­lor, Neil Wag­ner, BJ Watling, Kane Wil­liamson (capt).—AFP

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