New Zealand in Pakistan – Ish Sodhi, Glenn Phillips, Blair Tickner in Test squad

Leg-spinner Ish Sodhi, who last played a Test match four years ago, uncapped Blair Tickner and Glenn Phillips, who has one Test cap, have been picked for New Zealand’s tour of Pakistan starting on December 26.
The two-match series will be Tim Southee’s first assignment as New Zealand’s full-time Test captain after Kane Williamson stepped down from the post earlier on Thursday. It will be Williamson’s first series not captaining New Zealand since February 2016.
While Sodhi has been a regular in New Zealand’s white-ball team, he has played just 17 Tests since his debut in 2013, the last of which came against Pakistan in the UAE in November 2018. Phillips played his only Test so far against Australia at SCG in January 2020 and made a half-century in the first innings, while Tickner was part of the Test squads for the home series against South Africa and the England tour, but is yet to play a match.

“I know all three guys [Sodhi, Phillips, Tickner] have a real passion for the longest form of the game and look forward to getting into their red-ball work at the pre-tour camp in Lincoln this week,” New Zealand coach Gary Stead said. “Ish has played international cricket for almost a decade now and we support his skills and experience.

“Looking at the current conditions and style of play in the Test series in Pakistan and England, we feel it will be important to have a wrist spinner in the team.

“Glenn is clearly a very talented batsman and we are delighted to introduce him back into the Test squad for this tour. His ability to bowl offspin is also a plus with the prospect of turning the pitch.”

“Blair has been in the squad for our last two Test series and we think he is very ready for Test cricket. He has genuine pace and gets good bounce which is an advantage to have in sub-continental conditions.”

New Zealand are touring Pakistan for the first time since 2003 and will play two Tests starting on December 26 in Karachi and January 3 in Multan.

“It’s going to be a new experience and a type of challenge that excites this group,” Stead said. “We have naturally kept an eye on the current Test series against England, especially the last two Tests of the series held in Multan and Karachi, where we will be playing.”

Williamson will then take over the captaincy for the three ODIs in Karachi on January 10, 12 and 14, and for the subsequent white-ball tour of India. The limited series squads will be announced on December 19.

New Zealand Test team for the tour of Pakistan: Tim Southee (capt), Michael Bracewell, Tom Blundell (wk), Devon Conway, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Henry Nicholls, Ajaz Patel, Glenn Phillips, Ish Sodhi, Blair Tickner, Neil Wagner, Kane Williamson, Will Young

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