Allrounder Jimmy Neesham has been named in New Zealand's Test squad for the upcoming tour of India, having not played an international since the Brisbane Test against Australia last November. Fast bowler Matt Henry and batsman Jeet Raval have been dropped from the 16-man squad that toured Africa, with Neesham the only addition to what is now a 15-man group.
Neesham was forced out of last summer's Australia tour due to back pain, but he has since then played for Otago during New Zealand's home season and for Derbyshire in England's county competition. New Zealand selector Gavin Larsen said Neesham's all-round ability made him an attractive proposition for the tour of India, while Corey Anderson could not be considered due to a back injury.
"Jimmy has put in a lot of work to make sure he is physically ready for a return to Test cricket," Larsen said. "Having two pace-bowling allrounders in Jimmy and Doug Bracewell helps the balance of the squad, particularly if playing on pitches which demand a spin-heavy bowling attack.
"Jeet Raval misses out on this tour, but we were really pleased with what we saw of him in Africa. He did everything asked of him and we'll continue to monitor him closely."
"Mitch Santner and Ish Sodhi will have benefitted from getting a taste of Indian conditions earlier this year at the ICC World Twenty20 and both showed excellent form at that tournament. It's another big challenge for them early in their young careers, as well as for Mark Craig, who has made some changes in the past six months and has shown growth in his game.
"India's the No.2 ranked side in the world, and their record at home is formidable. We're yet to win a Test series over there and that's motivating for everyone. We've got three Tests to try create a special piece of history."
The first Test is in Kanpur beginning on September 22, followed by Tests in Kolkata and Indore.
Squad Kane Williamson (capt), Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Mark Craig, Martin Guptill, Tom Latham, Jimmy Neesham, Henry Nicholls, Luke Ronchi, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling.