Somerville into squad
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.