Elliott named in New Zealand Test squad

The Wellington allrounder, Grant Elliott, has been named in New Zealand's 13-man squad for the first Test against England at Hamilton, which starts on Wednesday.
Elliott, 28, was born in Johannesburg but has completed his national qualification, and impressed the selectors with 2 for 12 from eight overs and a composed innings of 28 during England's tour match at Dunedin. He is one of seven players in that match to have been included in the squad, including the seamer Iain O'Brien, who beat his new-ball partner Mark Gillespie to the final place.

New Zealand's selector, Dion Nash, said that Elliott is a solid middle-order batsman and a good bowling option with his ability to swing the ball. He enjoyed a productive season for Wellington in 2006-07, with 361 runs in seven matches at 45.12, including two of his three career centuries. He has been less prolific this year, although he provides the selectors with a handy back-up for their established allrounder, Jacob Oram.

""I came for a lifestyle change and also for my cricket, but as soon as I arrived in New Zealand and made it my home, I had aspirations of playing international cricket for New Zealand," said Elliott after his call-up. "It's a really tough move to make, because you always grow up thinking you're going to be a Springbok or a Protea and then you make that change to another country."

Elliott's allegiance was cemented last winter when he was selected to play for New Zealand A. "When I opened the bag and saw the silver fern that was a real indication that New Zealand's my home - and I'll give everything for New Zealand," he said. "I'm a permanent resident now, I think I can push for my citizenship soon, which I'm quite keen to do. Moving here has been great; New Zealand Cricket have been wonderful, and I consider myself a Kiwi now."

Another notable inclusion in the Test squad is Jamie How, who excelled during New Zealand's recent one-day series victory with 201 runs at 50.25, including an 86-ball century at Napier. His innings of 65 in the Dunedin warm-up was enough to confirm his place alongside Matthew Bell at the expense of Craig Cumming, with Ross Taylor and Mathew Sinclair also included from the Select XI top-order. The out-of-form Peter Fulton misses out. He has suffered a reoccurrence of a right-knee injury, and will be reassessed prior to the second Test.

New Zealand squad 1 Matthew Bell, 2 Jamie How, 3 Stephen Fleming, 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Mathew Sinclair, 6 Jacob Oram, 7 Brendon McCullum (wk), 8 Daniel Vettori (capt), 9 Kyle Mills, 10 Iain O'Brien, 11 Chris Martin, 12 Grant Elliott, 13 Jeetan Patel.