Kiwis recall Jeetan, Neesham for first Test vs South Africa

Indo Asian News Service

Wellington, March 3 (IANS) New Zealand selectors on Friday recalled off-spinner Jeetan Patel and all-rounder Jimmy Neesham while left-arm pacer Neil Wagner was also declared fit for the first cricket Test against South Africa from March 8 in Dunedin.

Matt Henry and Dean Brownlie have been dropped from the 13-member squad, which took on Bangladesh while Patel, who made a Test comeback after a gap of nearly four years against India last year, has been selected ahead of leg-spinner Ish Sodhi.

Throwing his weight behind the off-spinner's inclusion, selector Gavin Larsen said Patel provided the balance the team needed along side Mitchell Santner, the left-arm spin option.

"Jeetan brings the ability to spin the ball away from the left-handers, which complements our other spinner in Mitchell Santner nicely," Larsen was quoted as saying by blackcaps.co.nz.

"He brings a huge amount of experience to the team and gives us the balance of having two front-line spin options."

Larsen said Neesham's form has also warranted his inclusion, while Wagner has been cleared to take part.

"Jimmy has impressed so far this summer and we've seen improvement in his game. He gives us another option and is also very familiar with the conditions at University of Otago Oval.

"Having Neil back and available is fantastic news for us. Neil's been our leading wicket-taker in recent times and is a key player for us. He's worked extremely hard to get himself ready for the series and we expect him to be fit and ready to go come the first Test," he added.

Squad: Kane Williamson (Captain), Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Tom Latham, Jimmy Neesham, Henry Nicholls, Jeetan Patel. Jeet Raval, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, B.J. Watling (wk).

--IANS

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