New Zealand batsman Kane Williamson and fast bowlers Hamish Bennett and Andy McKay, three uncapped players, have been included in the Test squad for the three-match tour of India beginning in Ahmedabad on November 4. The 15-man team also includes batsman Martin Guptill, who was in Zimbabwe with the New Zealand A team while the national side was being drubbed 4-0 in an ODI series in Bangladesh.
"Kane Williamson is an impressive young talent and his game continues to improve with his involvement in the New Zealand team, while Bennett did everything asked of him on the recent tour of Bangladesh and offers the side a genuine pace option," New Zealand coach and selector Mark Greatbatch said.
Williamson was one batsman to emerge with any credit from New Zealand's disastrous trip to Bangladesh, scoring his maiden ODI century in one of the defeats. Bennett picked up three wickets at 24.33 apiece in the two matches he played. Guptill as well as five other players - Brent Arnel, Chris Martin, Tim McIntosh, Gareth Hopkins and Jeetan Patel - will travel to India from Zimbabwe, where they have been playing four-day matches for New Zealand A.
"The group of players coming from Zimbabwe have had the ideal preparation with three hard-fought matches in difficult conditions," Greatbatch said. "The rest of the squad have been training hard and are keen to prove that they are better that the recent performances in Bangladesh."
The tour of India, the No. 1 ranked Test side, will be a testing one for New Zealand, especially after their disheartening performances in the slow and spinner-friendly conditions in Bangladesh. "We are well aware that we are recent performances are not up to scratch and we need to improve if we are to compete with a very strong Indian side - the team is determined to do so," Greatbatch said. "Players outside the 15 will continue to be considered and we will closely monitor performances in the Plunket Shield. The door has not closed for any player."
New Zealand's previous Test series was at home against Australia in March 2010. Three players - Mathew Sinclair, Peter Ingram, and James Franklin - were cut from the squad for that series.
Squad: Daniel Vettori (capt), Brent Arnel, Hamish Bennett, Martin Guptill, Gareth Hopkins, Chris Martin, Brendon McCullum, Tim McIntosh, Andy McKay, Jeetan Patel, Jesse Ryder, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, BJ Watling, Kane Williamson.