Wicketkeeper Tom Blundell is set to make his Test debut in the first Test against West Indies that kicks off on December 1. With wicketkeeper BJ Watling unavailable due to a hip injury, Blundell will automatically be drafted into New Zealand’s XI for the Test at the Basin Reserve. Pace bowler Lockie Ferguson, too, joined the New Zealand squad as cover for Tim Southee, who is expecting the birth of his child.
Team selector Gavin Larsen said that Blundell’s improvement with the glove over the past year has earned him a debut Test at his home ground, and that Watling was still returning to full fitness.
“Tom’s worked hard on his game and we’ve seen his wicket-keeping in particular really develop over the past 12 months,” Larsen said. “The chance to play his first Test at his home ground is going to be really special for him. BJ is still working his way back to full fitness and hopefully he gets some time with the gloves for Northern Districts soon.”
Southee, however, is not ruled out of the opening Test, and Larsen said that Ferguson was drafted into the squad only as a back-up in case Southee becomes unavailable.
“With Tim awaiting the birth of his child, his availability is still uncertain at this point, so Lockie helps keep our bases covered,” Larsen said. “Lockie’s been in good form domestically and showed good signs for New Zealand A as well. His extra pace brings a slightly different dimension to the attack.”
Source: ESPN Crickinfo