New Zealand’s Guptill axed for Pakistan Tests


WELLINGTON: New Zealand opener Martin Guptill’s faltering Test career appeared to be over on Thursday when he was dropped from the Black Caps’ squad for this month’s series against Pakistan.

Guptill was not named in the 13-man squad for the two-Test series after repeatedly failing to showcase his limited-overs form in the five-day version of the game.

He was given a final chance on the recent tour of India but managed only one half century in six innings, continuing his woes against the red ball.

The 30-year-old averages 42.35 in one-dayers but only 29.38 in Tests.

His absence means Indian-born batsman Jeet Raval is likely to earn his debut in the first Test against Pakistan beginning at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch next Thursday.

Raval was considered unlucky to miss out on the India tour but chief selector Gavin Larsen said he should thrive in New Zealand conditions.

“Jeet has been in the picture for a while now and he benefited from spending time in the environment during the tour of Africa,” he said. “His [domestic] form in recent seasons has been excellent and the opportunity for Jeet to begin his international career in familiar conditions will be important.”

All-rounder Colin de Grandhomme was the other uncapped player named in the squad, while Todd Astle earned a recall four years after his sole Test appearance.

“Since Colin returned from injury last season, he’s made a number of key contributions with bat and ball,” Larsen added.

Meanwhile, Pakistan launch their preparations for the upcoming series with a warm-up fixture against New Zealand ‘A’ at Nelson’s Saxton Oval from Friday.

Both Astle and de Grandhomme have been withdrawn from the New Zealand ‘A’ squad, with Kyle Jamieson and Luke Woodcock taking their place.

The second Test of the series will be played at the Seddon Park in Hamilton from Nov 25.

Squad: Kane Williamson (captain), Jeet Raval, Tom Latham, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, Colin de Grandhomme, Jimmy Neesham, BJ Watling, Todd Astle, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult, Matt Henry.