Zimbabwe in New Zealand 2011-12 January 23, 2012

Sam Wells added to New Zealand Test squad

ESPNcricinfo staff

Sam Wells, the 27-year-old Otago allrounder, has been added to the New Zealand squad for the one-off Test against Zimbabwe after impressing in the warm-up match in Gisborne. Wells, a left-hand batsman and right-arm medium-pace bowler, made his first-class debut in 2007 and has played 21 first-class games, in which he averages 38.10 with the bat, with two centuries.

So far*, in this season's Plunket Shield, he is the leading run-getter for Otago. He is not even in the top 15 in the overall list, though. He has taken just two wickets in the season, and has a first-class bowling average of 34.27. He was given an opportunity to play for a New Zealand XI against the touring Zimbabweans, and scored 65 in the first innings, helping to take the team out of a sticky situation. He also took a wicket.

Wells' selection has taken many by surprise, including himself. "I guess I never knew I was as close as I was," he told Radio Sport. "I went to a pre-season camp at the start of the year and Wrighty [coach John Wright] had a few words and said they were looking for someone to fill that allrounder's role but I imagined to myself that I would have to put together a couple of pretty substantial seasons to be in this position."

The low-profile Wells said even his girlfriend didn't believe he was called up. "I'm not very well known and I think my mum might have been the only one picking me in the side. It took a while to convince my girlfriend that I was telling the truth."

Wells' inclusion takes the squad up to 13 members, with seven batsmen available. John Wright said Wells had been added to give the squad some balance.

"Sam is a talented allrounder and we are confident, if the opportunity arises, he will perform well at international level for New Zealand," Wright said. "He has impressed during the three-day match in Gisborne with the bat and his skills with the ball will give good balance to the side."

The Test against Zimbabwe begins January 26 in Napier.

*07:34 GMT, Jan 24: The article has been modified to reflect that the 2011-12 season of the Plunket Shield is ongoing