At a glance
He returned to Sydney and was in the frame for test selection after taking 35 Sheffield Shield wickets at 23 for NSW in 2016-17. But he struggled for opportunities last summer behind international spinners Nathan Lyon and Steve O’Keefe.
At former Black Caps captain Daniel Vettori’s recommendation, Auckland coach Mark O’Donnell snapped up Somerville for the Aces and he snared seven wickets in his first two shield matches last month. From 18 first-class matches Somerville has 62 wickets at 26.75.
Selector Gavin Larsen said Somerville had impressed the selectors and would complement legspinner Ish Sodhi and left-arm orthodox Ajaz Patel in the squad for the three-test series starting in Abu Dhabi on November 16. New Zealand are highly likely to pick two frontline spinners in their XI on the UAE dustbowls.
‘‘We’ve been keeping a close eye on Will and like the look of his allround game and skill-set,’’ Larsen said.
Meanwhile, Astle, 32, will return home to Christchurch to have his injured right knee looked at by a specialist. He picked up the injury during the recent New Zealand A one-day series and Larsen said he wouldn’t be able to cope with the workload expected in the ODI and test series against Pakistan.
‘‘Despite a period of rest, Todd’s knee has, unfortunately, not responded as well as we had hoped,’’ Larsen said.
‘‘The best course of action for Todd is to get home and get it looked at, with an eye to returning in the home summer.’’ New Zealand squad for three tests against Pakistan in the UAE: Kane Williamson (captain), Jeet Raval, Tom Latham, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling, Tom Blundell, Colin de Grandhomme, Will Somerville, Ish Sodhi, Ajaz Patel, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Matt Henry, Trent Boult.