At a glance

Nelson Mail - - Sport -

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.

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