Black Caps recall Sodhi for tour to Africa

New Zealand

New Zealand have named their Test squad for their tour to Africa in July, where they will face Zimbabwe and South Africa, and spinner Ish Sodhi has been handed a recall.

Kane Williamson captains the side in the wake of his promotion, following the retirement of Brendon McCullum, while uncapped opening batsman Jeet Ravel has been picked ahead of Hamish Rutherford.

Ross Taylor will continue to provide stability in the middle order in place of McCullum, having missed the Australia series due to a groin injury. All-rounder Corey Anderson has not been picked.

Coach Mike Hesson said of Ravel and Sodhi's inclusions: "Jeet has been impressive in the Plunket Shield for a number of years now and in the last 12 months we've seen his maturity and decision making continue to improve.

"He's learnt to adapt to conditions and has performed well for New Zealand A, so we believe he's more than ready to make the step up to the international arena.

"Ish was outstanding in all formats during the second half of last season, beginning with his performances in the Plunket Shield for Northern Districts.

"He was also exceptional for us with the white ball last summer and that's seen him gain valuable confidence on the international stage."

Sodhi is one of three specialist spinners in the squad, in preparation for the turning deck for the two Test in Harare, while pace depth is strong for the trip to Kingsmead.

Hesson added:  "Having played in both Zimbabwe and South Africa last year, we have some insight into what the pitches could be like this time around and we've selected our squad accordingly.

"Playing two Tests in Harare, we need to be prepared for dry turning surfaces, but also know that Durban often has a good covering of grass."

New Zealand Test squad: Kane Williamson (capt), Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Mark Craig, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Luke Ronchi, Jeet Raval, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling.