New Zealand Squad for South Africa Test; Kane Williamson Returns

New Zealand squad
New Zealand (by NZC)

The rising star Rachin Ravindra is set to play his first Test at home since 2022 after being included in the Blackcaps Squad to face South Africa.

New Zealand Squad for South Africa Test

Rachin Ravindra won the ICC Awards 2023 under the category of Emerging Player of the Year. After completing the T20I series against Pakistan in a home tour, the Black Caps are preparing to play in South Africa’s New Zealand tour.

On this occasion, New Zealand Cricket has announced the Test squad for the South Africa series. Rachin Ravindra was named in the squad and is set to feature in the test format after making his last appearance in the test match against India in 2022.

He was brought into the squad for Henry Nicholls, he will be playing in the middle-order for the first time in the long format.

O’Rourke has been included in the squad and will be available for the second match. His selection was made after his performance in the match between New Zealand A against Australia A. Ajaz Patel and Ish Sodhi was not picked in the squad.

The New Zealand head coach Gary Stead said that revealing the first Test squad of the season will be exciting.

“It’s an honour to be involved in any Test match and I know the players are looking forward to the start of a big Test summer – in what is a big year of Test cricket home and away.

“The Proteas are a highly competitive team across formats and, having never won a Test series against them home or away, we expect two stern challenges.”

Stead feels that the selection process was tough as several players have proved their worth to be included in the squad.

“It was pleasing as a selector to see different players making contributions during the recent series in Bangladesh.

“Glenn and Mitch both earned selection on the back of their recent work in red ball cricket. They continue to work on their games to contribute across formats and situations.”

He was also delighted to see a different range of experiences and options in the group.

“Will O’Rourke has impressed us in stepping up from domestic cricket to New Zealand A and then international level.

“Rachin Ravindra is another player who has really impressed us with his contributions to the team over the past 12 months in international cricket.

“We’ve been particularly pleased with his ability to adapt and learn in different roles.”

Stead also talked about the tough calls of leaving Nicholls, Ajaz Patel and Ish Sodhi.

“All three players have made strong contributions to Test-winning performances over the past 14 months. But we believe we’ve struck a good balance between experience, and providing opportunities for newer players.”

“Tom Blundell, Kyle Jamieson, and Kane Williamson are all at slightly different points in their rehabilitation plans,” he concluded.

New Zealand and South Africa will be playing their first test match starting on February 04 at Bay Oval.

New Zealand squad for South Africa Test series

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