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Cricket: Watling returns for historic Test series

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wicketkeeper BJ Watling has returned to the BLACKCAPS Test side for their two match series against England, which will see New Zealand host its first Day-Night Test.

Watling missed the series against West Indies earlier this season due to a hip injury. He’ll attend a training camp in Tauranga this week, as the BLACKCAPS prepare for the first Test at Eden Park starting 22 March.

A 12 man squad had been named initially, with Mitchell Santner ruled out for the series with a knee injury. Another release will be sent about this injury at approximately 7am this morning.

The second Test and final match of the home summer begins March 30 at Hagley Oval in Christchurch.

BLACKCAPS Test squad

Kane Williamson (c)

Todd Astle

Trent Boult

Colin de Grandhomme

Matt Henry

Tom Latham

Henry Nicholls

Jeet Raval

Tim Southee

Ross Taylor

Neil Wagner

BJ Watling (wk)

BLACKCAPS Selector Gavin Larsen said it was a boost to the side to have Watling available again.

"BJ is a proven performer at Test level for us and brings a lot to the group both on and off the field," said Larsen.

"We’ve monitored BJ’s progress over the past few months and it’s great to see him back with the gloves for Northern Districts. Tom Blundell did a great job in BJ’s absence and we’ll keep working with him going forward."

Larsen added that having someone of Astle’s quality coming in helped lessen the blow of Santner’s injury.

"Having another spin bowling allrounder in Todd is of real benefit for us and he’ll be looking forward to his opportunity.

"Being involved in the first Day-Night Test in New Zealand is really exciting and there’s always something special about playing England. They have match winners throughout their squad so we expect a challenging series."

The BLACKCAPS players not involved in the warm-ups will head to Tauranga for a camp on Thursday.

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