Somerville into squad

Rotorua Daily Post - - Sport - Cricket Niall An­der­son

The Black Caps have sprung a ma­jor sur­prise, call­ing vet­eran spin­ner Will Somerville into their test squad to play Pak­istan later this month.

Don’t know the name? You wouldn’t be alone, con­sid­er­ing Somerville only this year re­turned to New Zealand cricket, af­ter spend­ing a decade in Aus­tralia.

Re­mark­ably, six of those years came with­out Somerville play­ing top-level cricket, with the Welling­ton-born 34-year-old play­ing grade cricket in Syd­ney from 2008-2014, be­fore be­ing picked for New South Wales.

There, the late bloomer shone in the 2016-2017 Sheffield Shield, tak­ing 35 wick­ets at 23.14, but he found his op­por­tu­ni­ties lim­ited be­hind Aus­tralian test spin­ners Nathan Lyon and Steve O’Keefe.

He linked up with Auck­land with the in­ten­tion of push­ing for a Black Caps spot, but it is a big sur­prise — and a re­flec­tion on New Zealand’s thin spin­ning stocks — that his chance has come this early.

How­ever, an in­jury to Todd As­tle — plus the ab­sence of Mitchell Sant­ner — pro­vided an open­ing for Somerville to join Ish Sodhi and Ajaz Pa­tel as the third spin­ner in the test squad.

Somerville took seven wick­ets in his two Plun­ket Shield games be­fore bowl­ing ad­e­quately in the one-day Ford Tro­phy.

Somerville will fly to the UAE to­day to link up with the side ahead of the first test in Abu Dhabi on Novem­ber 16.

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