New Zealand name Williamson, Ravindra for Proteas Tests

New Zealand’s Kane Williamson.
| Photo Credit: AP

Star batters Kane Williamson and Rachin Ravindra were named Friday in the New Zealand squad for the two-match home Test series, starting next week, against an inexperienced South Africa side.

Williamson returns to the Black Caps after a hamstring strain sidelined him during the recent home Twenty20 series win over Pakistan, which New Zealand took 4-1.

Fresh from being named emerging player of the year by the International Cricket Council, rising star Ravindra will take the place of veteran Henry Nicholls, 32, in the middle order.

“It was a very tough decision. Henry has been part of the squad for 56 Tests. Whenever you leave a player out, it weighs heavy, but we felt it’s time for Rachin,” said New Zealand head coach Gary Stead.

“We know the talent he is and feel he will make a really good fist of it at this stage in his career.”

Ravindra, 24, will be making only his fourth Test appearance since his debut against India in 2021. Pace bowler Kyle Jamieson also returns after a back injury.

Uncapped seamer Will O’Rourke will be added to the squad for the second Test in Hamilton, starting February 13, when he could make his debut.

The first game begins February 4 at Mount Maunganui with hosts New Zealand chasing a first-ever Test series win over the Proteas.

South Africa have named an inexperienced squad, with the bulk of their first-choice players committed to their domestic Twenty20 competition.

Eight of the 15-man Proteas squad have yet to play Test cricket, including captain Neil Brand. Fast bowler Duanne Olivier has the most Test experience with 15 appearances.

New Zealand Test squad: Tim Southee (capt), Tom Blundell, Devon Conway, Matt Henry, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Will O’Rourke, Glenn Phillips, Rachin Ravindra, Mitchell Santner, Neil Wagner, Kane Williamson, Will Young.

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