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Ish Sodhi gets Test call for New Zealand's tour of Pakistan

Boult was unavailable for selection, while Jamieson was not fit for New Zealand's first tour of Pakistan since 2003

Glenn Phillips, Ish Sodhi and Lockie Ferguson celebrate a West Indies wicket, New Zealand vs West Indies, 2nd T20I, Mount Maunganui, November 29, 2020

Glenn Phillips and Ish Sodhi have been key players in New Zealand's white-ball teams  •  AFP via Getty Images

Legspinner Ish Sodhi, who last played a Test match four years ago, the uncapped Blair Tickner, and Glenn Phillips, who has one Test cap, have been picked for New Zealand's tour of Pakistan which begins on December 26.
The two-match series will be Tim Southee's first assignment as New Zealand's full-time Test captain after Kane Williamson stepped down from the post earlier on Thursday. It will be Williamson's first series not as New Zealand captain since February 2016.
Trent Boult, who is no longer on a New Zealand central contract, had made himself unavailable for selection for the tour, and Kyle Jamieson was unavailable because he is still recovering from a back injury.
While Sodhi has been a regular fixture in New Zealand's white-ball teams, he's played only 17 Tests since his debut in 2013, the last of those coming against Pakistan in the UAE in November 2018. Phillips played his only Test so far against Australia at the SCG in January 2020 and made a half-century in the first innings, while Tickner was part of the Test squads for the home series against South Africa and the tour of England but is yet to play a game.
"I know all three of the guys [Sodhi, Phillips, Tickner] have a real passion for the longest form of the game and are looking forward to getting into their red-ball work at the pre-tour camp in Lincoln this week," New Zealand coach Gary Stead said. "Ish has been playing international cricket for almost a decade now and we're backing his skills and experience.
"Looking at the current conditions and style of play in the Pakistan and England Test series, we feel having a wristspinner in the team will be important.
"Glenn is clearly a very talented batsman and we're excited to introduce him back into the Test squad for this tour. His ability to bowl offspin is also a plus point with the prospect of turning pitches."
"Blair's been with the group for our past two-Test series and we believe he's very much ready for Test cricket. He has genuine pace and gets good bounce which is a real asset to have in sub-continental conditions."
Apart from Sodhi, New Zealand's spin options in the squad are left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel, who became the third bowler to take all ten wickets in an innings on the tour of India in 2021, and the offspinner Michael Bracewell.
New Zealand are touring Pakistan for the first time since 2003 and will be playing two Tests starting on December 26 in Karachi and January 3 in Multan.
"It's going to be a new experience and the kind of challenge that excites this group," Stead said. "We've naturally been keeping an eye on the current Test series against England, particularly the last two Tests of the series held in Multan and Karachi, where we will play."
Williamson will then take over the captaincy for the three ODIs in Karachi on January 10, 12 and 14, and for the following white-ball tour of India. The squads for those limited-overs series will be announced on December 19.
New Zealand Test squad for the tour of Pakistan: Tim Southee (capt), Michael Bracewell, Tom Blundell (wk), Devon Conway, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Henry Nicholls, Ajaz Patel, Glenn Phillips, Ish Sodhi, Blair Tickner, Neil Wagner, Kane Williamson, Will Young