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Ajaz Patel dropped from New Zealand Test squad for series against Bangladesh


Black Caps coach Gary Stead felt Ajaz Patel would have effectively been surplus to requirements for the two Tests against Bangladesh.

Patel’s omission from the 13-man New Zealand squad for the two Tests was the major talking point of the selections today, after the left arm spinner had taken 14 wickets – including all 10 in one innings – against India in the second Test earlier this month.

Despite that haul, Stead said Patel was behind the NZ pace bowlers in the pecking order for the upcoming two Tests at home.

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“I think if you look at the reality of spin bowlers in New Zealand in the last four or five years, there hasn’t been a lot of them taking truckloads of wickets,” Stead said at Hagley Oval in Christchurch on Thursday.

“And that’s not necessarily the spinners’ fault, but shows the strength of where we’re at with our pace bowling unit at the moment.”

Stead and NZ Cricket selection manager Gavin Larsen included five quick bowlers – Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Kyle Jamieson, Neil Wagner and Matt Henry – in the squad, with four of them expected to start in the first Test at Mount Maunganui’s Bay Oval on New Year’s Day.

“Which one of the four quicks are you going to drop that he’ll be better than?

“If our four quicks do the job in the role that we want them to do, then I hope we’re in a position to really dominate the test before it gets too late into it.”

Stead said Patel was “disappointed but realistic” over his omission, while explaining that a spin bowler’s role at home would be vastly different from one in Asia.

“Particularly against Bangladesh as well, who are probably more comfortable playing against spin bowling as well.”

Rachin Ravindra will instead provide the spin bowling option while batting at number seven.

“I’d be surprised if Rachin’s not part of that starting XI,” Stead said.

“He has a lot of the skills and attributes we’re looking for in that role – he bats very well, his spin bowling is coming on quickly, which we’re really excited about as well.”

Stead is hoping regular captain Kane Williamson will be fit to play two Tests against South Africa in February after being ruled out of the current squad with an elbow injury, but wanted Williamson’s recovery to be well managed.

“I think the thing to remember with Kane is he played in the T20 World Cup and he played the world Test championship final, both at times when perhaps rest may have been the best thing for him.

“It’s not like he’s picking and choosing when he wants this to flare up.”

Black Caps squad: Tom Latham (captain), Devon Conway, Will Young, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, Daryl Mitchell, Tom Blundell, Rachin Ravindra, Kyle Jamieson, Matt Henry, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult

This article originally appeared on stuff.co.nz and is reproduced with permission

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