Batsman Kane Williamson has been included in the BLACKCAPS squad for the ANZ Test Series against the West Indies starting on Tuesday in Dunedin.
The 23-year-old, who broke a bone in his left thumb in Bangladesh last month, will await a final fitness clearance closer to the match but the signs are promising.
“Kane has been in the nets batting and bowling and getting his intensity levels up,” says General Manager National Selection Bruce Edgar.
“We’re confident he should be right come Tuesday.”
BLACKCAPS Test squad for ANZ Test Series v West Indies
Brendon McCullum (c) - Otago Volts
Corey Anderson - Northern Knights
Trent Boult - Northern Knights
Doug Bracewell - Central Stags
Peter Fulton - Canterbury Wizards
Aaron Redmond - Otago Volts
Hamish Rutherford - Otago Volts
Ish Sodhi - Northern Knights
Tim Southee - Northern Knights
Ross Taylor - Central Stags
Neil Wagner - Otago Volts
BJ Watling - Northern Knights
Kane Williamson - Northern Knights
The squad also sees the return of the BLACKCAPS lead strike bowler Tim Southee after he had ankle surgery in July. Southee was eased back into international cricket during the limited overs section of the tour to Bangladesh and was in top form this week taking 6-79 for the Northern Knights.
Southee’s Knights team-mates leg spinner Ish Sodhi and all-rounder Corey Anderson are in line to play their first Tests at home next week.
The pair who debuted on the recent tour of Bangladesh were both named in the 13-man squad despite Anderson suffering a rib injury while in Sri Lanka.
Edgar is keen to see the 20-year-old Sodhi given another a chance after he stood up well on what was a challenging tour of Bangladesh.
“Mike (BLACKCAPS Head Coach Mike Hesson) and I feel that Ish is worthy of an opportunity in the first Test if the conditions are right.”
Edgar says Aaron Redmond has been selected as injury cover for Williamson based on the sheer volume of runs he has scored.
“Aaron has made a good start to the Plunket Shield to date and on top of the 67 he scored yesterday for the New Zealand XI we felt he was the best top order batting cover.”
Redmond, 34, played his last Test for the BLACKCAPS in Adelaide in 2008.
Hesson says the team is looking forward to playing at home after a long tour of the sub-continent.
“We know we’re capable of playing well in familiar conditions. You only need to look back to the English series last summer where we were one wicket away from a series victory.”