WTC Final, India vs New Zealand: BlackCaps pick Ajaz Patel ahead of Mitchell Santner in squad for summit clash

WTC Final, India vs New Zealand: BlackCaps pick Ajaz Patel ahead of Mitchell Santner in squad for summit clash
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WTC Final, India vs New Zealand: BlackCaps pick Ajaz Patel ahead of Mitchell Santner in squad for summit clash

Highlights

New Zealand picked Ajaz Patel ahead of experienced Mitchell Santner as the BlackCaps announced their 15-man squad for the World Test Championship (WTC) final on Tuesday

New Zealand picked Ajaz Patel ahead of experienced Mitchell Santner as the BlackCaps announced their 15-man squad for the World Test Championship (WTC) final on Tuesday.

Kane Williamson will lead New Zealand in the WTC final against India, starting June 18 at the Rose Bowl Stadium, Southampton. Williamson, who is yet to win an ICC trophy with the BlackCaps, is set to captain his country in a second ICC final, after the 2019 Cricket World Cup final, which the Kiwis lost to hosts England at Lord's.

New Zealand have picked Colin de Grandhomme as the specialist all-rounder, Will Young as the batting cover, while Tom Blundell has been selected as a back-up wicket-keeper.

As many as five players - Doug Bracewell, Jacob Duffy, Daryl Mitchell, Rachin Ravindra and Santner – who were a part of New Zealand's 20-man squad for the England series were dropped for the WTC final.

BlackCaps' head coach Gary Stead thanked the departing players for their contributions over the past month.

"It's not easy to say goodbye to guys who have given so much to the group. Doug, Jacob and Rachin have been selfless in their attitude to helping the team and supporting those in the playing XI.

I'd also like to highlight our fourth coach Heinrich Malan who has done a great job behind the scenes working with the players, in particular those who were not selected in the playing XIs to face England. That work was on show for all to see in the second Test with the six players coming in and performing so well. With our squad being reduced, Heinrich and our second physio Vijay Vallabh will return home to New Zealand on June 16, along with Jacob, Rachin and Mitchell. We wish them well and thank them for their efforts," Stead was quoted as saying in an official release from the BlackCaps.

Speaking on the squad selections, Stead said,"There's had to be some tough calls with Mitchell and Daryl victims of the fierce competition we currently have for places in the Test side. We've gone with Ajaz as our specialist spinner after an impressive outing at Edgbaston and we believe he could be a factor at the Ageas Bowl.

Colin's been an integral member of our Test set-up for many years and it was great to see him return at Lord's after a long injury lay-off. He's a proven performer at the top level and we back him to do a job with the bat or the ball if called upon."

Williamson and first-choice wicketkeeper-batsman BJ Watling, who missed the second Test against England last week due to injuries, will play the WTC final, confirmed Stead.

"Kane and BJ have certainly benefitted from their week of rest and rehabilitation and we expect them to be fit and available for the final. Playing in a World Cup Final is a really special occasion and I know the guys are looking forward to getting into their work here in Southampton.

India are a world class outfit who possess match winners all through their line-up, so we're under no illusion about how tough they will be to beat," added Stead.

With the 1-0 win over England in their recent Test series, New Zealand replaced Team India as the World No. 1 Test side in the latest ICC rankings. When India toured New Zealand last year, Virat Kohli and Co were whitewashed 2-0 in the Test series.

New Zealand's 15-man squad for WTC final:

Kane Williamson (c), Tom Blundell (wk), Trent Boult Devon Conway, Colin de Grandhomme, Matt Henry, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Ajaz Patel, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling (wk), Will Young.

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