New Zealand recall Watling for England series


Watling made his debut in 2015 and has played 52 Tests for New Zealand

New Zealand have recalled wicketkeeper BJ Watling for their two-match Test series with England.

Watling missed the Black Caps’ series whitewash of West Indies in December with a hip injury.

New Zealand will begin a training camp in Tauranga this week before the first Test at Eden Park on 22 March.

A squad of 12 has been named at this stage. All-rounder Mitchell Santner has been ruled out of the series with a knee injury.

National selector Gavin Larsen says the Black Caps will be buoyed by Watling’s return to the side.

“BJ is a proven performer at Test level for us and brings a lot to the group both on and off the field,” he said.

“We’ve monitored BJ’s progress over the past few months and it’s great to see him back with the gloves for Northern Districts. Tom Blundell did a great job in BJ’s absence and we’ll keep working with him going forward.”

Larsen also believes Todd Astle will provide suitable cover for the injured Santner.

He added: “Having another spin bowling all-rounder in Todd is of real benefit for us and he’ll be looking forward to his opportunity.

“Being involved in the first day-night Test in New Zealand is really exciting and there’s always something special about playing England. They have match-winners throughout their squad so we expect a challenging series.”

New Zealand: Kane Williamson (c), Todd Astle, Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Jeet Raval, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling (wk)

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