New Zealand announces their 15-man squad for WTC final against India

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Kane Williamson and Virat Kohli

New Zealand announced their 15-man squad to compete in the inaugural World Test Championship (WTC) final against India at Southampton on Tuesday.

The Blackcaps went with a 20-man touring party to England to play the two red-ball match series against the hosts. They made six changes in the second game and gave most of their members a chance to prove their mettle.

Despite their experiments with the squad, Kiwis won the Test series by a margin of 1-0. Out of the 17 players who were given an opportunity to perform in the series, 15 players have been retained except for all-rounders Mitchell Santner and Daryl Mitchell.

While Santner went wicketless in the first Test and was shown the way to the pavilion for a golden duck, Mitchell too couldn’t bag any scalp and only made a paltry score of six runs when he came in to bat.

Colin de Grandhomme has been selected for his all-rounder skills, while Ajaz Patel has been added as the specialist spinner.

Tom Blundell has retained his position as backup wicket-keeper, whereas Will Young has been picked as a specialist batting option.

All the remaining three players who did not get a chance in the England series – Doug Bracewell, Jacob Duffy, Rachin Ravindra – have been snubbed from the squad.

NZ coach Gary Stead mentioned that apart from three out of the five excluded players, the fourth coach Heinrich Malan and physiotherapist Vijay Vallabh would also repatriate back to their country.

“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 revealed in a virtual press conference on Tuesday.

Daryl Mitchell and Doug Bracewell will stay in England and ply their trade for Middlesex and Nottinghamshire during the Vitality T20 Blast.

New Zealand’s Test squad for WTC final:

Kane Williamson (c), Tom Blundell, 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, Will Young.

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