Nethula, Wagner given Test audition
The legspinner Tarun Nethula will have the chance to audition for a Test debut after he was named in the New Zealand side for their tour match against the WICB President's XI, to begin in Antigua on Friday. New Zealand chose the dual spin options of Nethula and Daniel Vettori, while the fast bowler Neil Wagner will also be given an opportunity to press his case for a Test debut.
BJ Watling and Trent Boult will not play due to quad strains and the fast men Doug Bracewell and Tim Southee have been left out. Ross Taylor, the New Zealand captain, said the three-day first-class game would provide players with a fine chance to prepare for the Test series and would also give the selectors a look at some of their options for the first Test, which begins next Wednesday.
"It's a good opportunity for the players to get out there and spend time on their feet and it's not often you get to play a warm-up game on a ground where you will be playing the Test match," Taylor said. "We're still undecided on the balance of the side for the Test series. Tarun has come in and spin is going to be a big part of how we play this warm-up game and the Test match. Hopefully he goes well and makes our job a lot harder when we come to pick the Test team."
"The few times I played against [Wagner] and saw him on TV he's very aggressive. He's a guy who's been wanting to play for New Zealand for a while and has very good record. He gives us a slightly different option being a left-hander and I'm looking forward to seeing how he goes."
New Zealand XI Martin Guptill, Daniel Flynn, Brendon McCullum, Ross Taylor (capt), Kane Williamson, Dean Brownlie, Daniel Vettori, Kruger van Wyk (wk), Neil Wagner, Tarun Nethula, Chris Martin.