Wellington Firebirds 21-year-old all-rounder Rachin Ravindra has earned his maiden call-up to the BLACKCAPS Test squad for the upcoming tour of England.
Ravindra joins fellow Firebirds Tom Blundell and the in-form Devon Conway in a 20-strong touring party named to face England in two Tests, with the first at Lord’s in London starting on June 2, and the second at Edgbaston in Birmingham from June 10th.
The squad will then be trimmed to 15 for the ICC World Test Championship Final at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton starting on June 18, as per ICC regulations.
If selected to play, Ravindra would be the youngest BLACKCAPS Test player since Ish Sodhi, who debuted at 20 against Bangladesh in Chattogram in 2013.
In this his third and most successful professional season, the left-hander notched twin hundreds for New Zealand A against the touring West Indies and recently returned from a dislocated shoulder to record his first Plunket Shield century, followed by six wickets a week later in the Firebirds final round clash against the Auckland Aces.
Ravindra and Conway are two of three uncapped players selected in the squad, alongsiode Otago wing bowler Jacob Duffy.
BLACKCAPS coach Gary Stead said the pair richly deserved their Test call ups.
“We’re absolutely delighted for Rachin and Jacob,” Stead said.
“I’ve seen first-hand how hard these guys have worked in our NZC winter training squads and with New Zealand A, and so for them to earn their maiden Test call-ups for such a special tour will be really satisfying.
“Rachin’s been earmarked as a star of the future since his Under-19 days and we’ve been really encouraged by the advancement in his game this season, with both bat and ball. He’s obviously an opening option, but also has the ability to bat in the middle order which combined with his left-arm finger spin make him a great asset to our squad.
“Jacob’s been a consistent performer on the domestic circuit and his ability to swing the ball made him a particularly compelling option with a Dukes ball in English conditions.
“Test cricket really is the pinnacle of the game and I know both guys are extremely excited at the prospect of joining the team in England.”
The rest of the squad has a familiar look with 14 of the 20 having featured in the home summer Test wins over the West Indies and Pakistan.
Conway was first called into the BLACKCAPS Test squad in December, as cover for expectant dad Kane Williamson, so his selection for the England tour represents his first full squad inclusion.
The BLACKCAPS will hold two training camps in early May before departing for England in two groups on May 16 and 17.
Players involved in the IPL will be managed on a case by case basis depending on when their team exits the tournament.
BLACKCAPS Test Squad for England
Kane Williamson (c)
Colin de Grandhomme
BJ Watling (wk)
Article added: Thursday 08 April 2021