Australia in New Zealand 2015-16 February 9, 2016

Craig replaces injured Santner for Wellington Test

ESPNcricinfo staff

Mark Craig © Getty Images

Offspinner Mark Craig has been called into New Zealand's squad for the opening Test against Australia in Wellington, which begins on Friday. New Zealand Cricket selectors named Craig as a replacement for Mitchell Santner, was ruled out with a foot injury.

Santner experienced soreness in his right foot following the second ODI against Australia. A subsequent scan revealed a bone bruise and the decision was made to have Santner sit out. A decision about Santner's availability for the second Test will be made later.

"It's unfortunate for Mitch as he has been a key player for us so far this summer," New Zealand coach Mike Hesson said. "The positive news is that we picked it up early and hopefully Mitch can make a quick recovery."

Craig was part of the New Zealand squad for the two-Test series against Sri Lanka in December but was not selected to play. His last Test match came against Australia in the inaugural day-night Test, in Adelaide, where he finished with match figures of 2 for 75 in a three-wicket defeat.

Squad for the Wellington Test: Brendon McCullum (capt), Corey Anderson, Doug Bracewell, Trent Boult, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Mark Craig, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling (wk)*, Kane Williamson

*Luke Ronchi is on standby for Watling, who is a doubtful starter due to a back problem

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Gautam on February 10, 2016, 14:35 GMT

    This evens things out a bit. Santner is an economical bowler even when he is not picking up wickets. Craig, on the other hand is in the Lyon mould, who provides cannon fodder- with the exception that Craig can bat and field. All my fellow Aussies saying Australian batsmen will be happy Craig is selected must realize that this is exactly what the opposition batsmen feel everytime they see Lyon in our lineup.

  • Hrishikesh on February 10, 2016, 12:06 GMT

    Excellant selection this by Rod Marsh.

  • rob on February 10, 2016, 10:34 GMT

    Is Ronchi really the best replacement we have for Watling in the test wicket keeping berth. His performances with the bat in the last 12 months really do suggest that he is playing as a keeper only. Can a modern test team afford such a luxury? Despite Watlings relatively modest returns of late he does provide some solidity in NZ's lower order. With him and Roscoe out we would have a very brittle batting order with only one player in the top 7 with an average of over 40!

  • VENKATACHALAM on February 10, 2016, 5:53 GMT

    Totally wrong choice to include Mark Craig. He is a very inconsistent spinner, has troubles repeating his action and bowls too many boundary balls. Ish Sodhi would have been a far better bet.

  • Ed on February 10, 2016, 3:20 GMT

    No Ish Sohdi ? He's the only NZ spinner that can turn it !

  • Rory on February 10, 2016, 2:15 GMT

    I really hope Craig proves everybody wrong and plays a blinder. As opposed to bowling like he's blind, which is more likely.

  • Simon on February 9, 2016, 23:59 GMT

    So frustrating because Craig isn't the best option in the country. Todd Astle a leggie has been the leading wicket taker for the last couple of years in NZ four day domestic and Ish Sodhi if he can bowl anything like he did in that last ODI could be a real weapon in the tests. I hope i'm wrong and Craig has a screamer but not confident

  • Wayne on February 9, 2016, 22:06 GMT

    Hmmm.....quite the conundrum raised by some...who is the better spinner?...Nathan Lyon or Mark Craig...all I can say is Craig is a great selection by NZ. I'm sure Warner, Khawaja and Smith will all agree.

  • Jon on February 9, 2016, 17:55 GMT

    Craig along with Mooen Ali are the worst spinners in Int cricket. Neither can land the ball consistently where they want to. For orthodox finger spinners to bowl 2 bad balls every over is just criminal. Aussies will win the test series at a canter unless Boult can learn to swing the ball again. If he bowls straight up and down in the first 10 overs, as a betting man I would say that is curtains for NZ.

  • John on February 9, 2016, 16:08 GMT

    When I was younger I lived in the moment but now I am one of those very boring adults that are forced to do grown up things like making 3 year plans for my company's research and asset allocation. There are a heck of a lot of people way closer to the nuts and bolts of NZC machinations and players floating around than I am. So I'm wondering what do a plurality of you think the make up of our test squad would/could/should be in 2019? I heard some noise about a young quick kid in the Auckland area. How has his summer gone and is he legitimately quick? Is Worker in danger of being in his late 20's before he gets a look or is he not a red ball guy? Is the Bracewell kid legit with the gloves or are we looking at a makeshift WK/Batsman arrangement going forward (like Bairstow) after BJW puts the gloves away? Will Milne ever get a chance with the red ball or are we doomed to a future of MF/FM seamy/swingy guys getting maybe 1 out of 5 overseas wickets to bowl on that suit them?

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