South Africa in New Zealand 2016-17 March 2, 2017

Neesham and Patel recalled to New Zealand Test squad

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McGlashan: Unlikely Jeetan Patel will play in Dunedin

Allrounder James Neesham and offspinner Jeetan Patel have been recalled to the New Zealand squad for the first Test against South Africa in Dunedin.

Matt Henry and Dean Brownlie drop out of the squad from the Bangladesh series while Patel, who made a Test comeback after a gap of nearly four years against India last year, has been selected ahead of legspinner Ish Sodhi. Neil Wagner has also been confirmed as available following his finger injury he sustained in early February.

Though it is unlikely that New Zealand will field two spinners at University Oval - they have never done it in seven Tests at the venue - selector Gavin Larsen said Patel provided cover for all eventualities. He was brought into the one-day side in Hamilton, with a view to targeting South Africa's left handers, and claimed Quinton de Kock first ball.

"Jeetan brings the ability to spin the ball away from the left-handers, which complements our other spinner in Mitchell Santner nicely. He brings a huge amount of experience to the team and gives us the balance of having two front-line spin options." 

Neesham, meanwhile, provides competition for the allrounder's spot alongside the incumbent Colin de Grandhomme who claimed six wickets on debut against Pakistan but has since taken just four wickets in six innings.

Neesham made an unbeaten 71 in the second ODI against South Africa in Christchurch and in his previous Test hit 71 against India at Indore before being dropped in favour of de Grandhomme at the start of New Zealand's home season.

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

Wagner's availability is a major boost for New Zealand. When he initially damaged his finger fielding off his own bowling for Otago early last month there were concerns he would not recover in time, but he played club cricket last weekend and came through unscathed. Since the beginning of 2016, he is New Zealand's leading Test wicket-taker with 51 scalps at 22.33.

"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," Larsen said. "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."

BJ Watling was advised three weeks rest with a knee niggle last month but made 42 and 96 in last week's Plunket Shield match against Otago.

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • lee3790014956 on March 5, 2017, 19:03 GMT

    Why Henry miss out again, it's pointless drop southee for him

  • jared on March 4, 2017, 23:19 GMT

    I question patel's inclusion, last time he played a test against these guys he could of shined the square leg umpires shoes with the terror sweat dripping from his forehead, mind you he's not there to bat but still it's not good is it, even Chris Martin stood his ground, he's had dekocks number but you could say if sodhi played on a ragging Hamilton pitch he could of got 2-60 as well. Gimme a leg spinner every time. The best match up is going to be wagner vs everybody, I'm not convinced his short ball barrage will ruffle any of the south Africans who play quick bowling in their sleep, it may test their egos though and that in itself can bring a wicket but I'm going to be intrigued to see if wagner can adjust if the short ball doesn't work, which I'm not convinced it will, it's one thing to bounce out sub continent batters here but if he can bounce out South Africans I'll be truly impressed then, you can be a 1 trick pony if it works, if it doesn't does he have a plan B?

  • muntas4920248 on March 4, 2017, 9:12 GMT

    1.Latham 2.guptill 3. Williamson 4. Taylor. 5.Munro 6. Nisham 7. Watling.8. Santner 9. Fergushion. 10. Milne 11. Boult

  • Jon on March 4, 2017, 7:45 GMT

    1) Brownlie, 2) Latham, 3) Williamson, 4) Taylor (Capt.), 5) Guptill, 6) Watling, 7) Santner, 8) Kuggeleijn, 9) Henry, 10) Wagner, 11) Boult (Bench: Bruce, Southee, Sodhi)

  • Yasein on March 4, 2017, 0:57 GMT

    Another day. Another Southee beating on the cards courtesy of AB

  • harshm0255400 on March 4, 2017, 0:34 GMT

    Henry Nicholls had a few good innings against Bangladesh so I think that he does deserve a place in the squad but leaving Guptill out? The selectors set him up for failure in India by making him open. Look at Rohit Sharma, he bats in the middle order for tests and opener for ODIs and T20s. I really think Guptill can crack the code for test cricket if the selectors will let him bat at no. 5. If McCullum can average in the upper 30s at no. 5, I'm sure Guptill can. South Africa are a strong test cricketing nation so leaving Guptill out basically says that NZ don't want to play their best XI.

  • jared on March 3, 2017, 23:08 GMT

    Hmmm still a lot of weaknesses in that test side, here would be my test xi. 1.Latham 2.worker 3.Williamson 4.Taylor 5.Bruce 6.neesham 7.watling 8.santner 9.wheeler 10.wagner 11.boult, the 3 left arm seamers would benefit santner and worker with more footmarks to bowl into with neesh giving some right hand variation, genuine batting depth with wheeler as low as 9, very capable at scoring test half centuries on the regular in my opinion and his superior technique to southee's means he's more likely to stick around with the likes of watling and form valuable partnerships, Bruce I think is the best performing middle order bat in the country, ravel is gutsy but is nicking out a lot so we've replaced one sketchy nicker in guptill with another in ravel, but I do want ravel to succeed, I've just been wanting worker there for a while so I'd like to see if he can do better, still think nicholls is better suited to short form cricket same with degrandhomme. Prob is SA will still be superior

  • Alex on March 3, 2017, 22:40 GMT

    Guptil should be captain then he will do great. Without captaincy he will be same inconsistant batter.

  • Beau on March 3, 2017, 14:37 GMT

    Always fun when SA a play NZ. Some of the most morose, pessimistic fans in world cricket these two teams have. Who is most hopeless, who makes the most egregious selection mistakes? Who has that one player that is a total liability, but only cricinfo commenters, not selectors or coaches or anyone else, can identify him as such? How obvious is the solution to these selection dilemmas? If only SA could play 11 white players. If only NZ would pick the first class bullies who would obviously convert that domestic average to Test/ODI success, if only selectors would see what is staring them in the face... and on, and on...

  • Paul on March 3, 2017, 11:31 GMT

    Please, for the love of all that's cricket, drop Nicholls and replace him with Guptill. I'd be resting Southee in favour of Henry also, the former has under-performed and needs to know his place in the team is not guaranteed. I hope Hesson goes when the test series ends 2 or 3 nil (the NZ weather is the only thing capable of stopping a 3-0 loss)

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