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Raval earns NZ call, Sodhi returns

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'Hope to continue white ball form in Tests' - Sodhi (1:59)

NZ spinner Ish Sodhi talks about his comeback to the Test team (1:59)

The uncapped Auckland batsman Jeet Raval was named in New Zealand's squad for their Test tours of Zimbabwe and South Africa. There was also a recall for legspinner Ish Sodhi, but allrounder Corey Anderson missed out because of a back injury he picked up at the World T20 in India.

Raval, a 27-year-old left-hander, jumped ahead of Hamish Rutherford in the pecking order after he averaged 55.71 in last year's Plunket Shield. He is the third opener in the squad, behind Tom Latham and Martin Guptill.

The middle-order batting position created by the retirement of Brendon McCullum will be filled by Ross Taylor's return after he missed the Australia series in February due to injury. Henry Nicholls, who replaced Taylor against Australia, retained his place in the squad.


Sodhi, meanwhile, is one of three spinners alongside Mark Craig and Mitchell Santner. He played the most recent of his 11 Tests in November 2014 against Pakistan in Sharjah. This year he was part of New Zealand's limited-overs squads and was especially impressive at the World T20 where he collected 10 wickets in five matches.

"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," Mike Hesson, the New Zealand coach, said.

"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."

Hesson added that the balance of the squad had been selected to cover the variety of conditions expected across the four Test matches in Harare, Durban and Centurion.

"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 we also know that Durban often has a good covering of grass."

The squad will depart on July 11 for an eight-day training camp in Johannesburg before heading to Harare where the first Test begins on July 29.