New Zealand selectors kept faith with out-of-form opener Martin Guptill on Tuesday, naming him in a 15-man squad for a three-Test tour of India. All-rounder Jimmy Neesham, returning from injury, was also included in the squad.
Guptill failed with the bat in two Tests against South Africa last month, reinforcing the impression he struggles in the five-day game, despite his limited-overs talents.
He averages 43.25 in one-dayers but just 29.59 in Tests and can expect a torrid time against world number two India.
In retaining the 29-year-old, New Zealand have rejected the chance to blood Jeet Raval, who is familiar with Indian conditions after playing his youth cricket there.
The other notable feature of the squad was a recall for Neesham after an injury-enforced absence from international cricket.
“Jimmy has put in a lot of work to make sure he is physically ready for a return to Test cricket,” selector Gavin Larsen said.
“Having two pace bowling all-rounders in Jimmy and Doug Bracewell helps the balance of the squad, particularly if playing on pitches which demand a spin-heavy bowling attack.”
Larsen said India’s home record was formidable but the Black Caps were looking for a historic series win.
“We’re yet to win a Test series over there and that’s motivating for everyone,” he said. “We’ve got three Tests to try create a special piece of history.”
New Zealand will play Tests in Kanpur, Kolkata and Indore, followed by a five-match one-day series against India.
New Zealand squad
Kane Williamson (captain), 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