Ish Sodhi marks return as New Zealand announce squad for Pakistan Tests

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) has announced the squad for the red-ball series, as the Kiwis are all set to tour Pakistan this month. The two teams will engage in two tests, part of the ICC World Test Championship 2021-23, followed by three ODIs. The test series will be Tim Southee's first assignment as a skipper after Kane Williamson stepped down as the red-ball captain on December 15th.

Southee will lead a team without experienced lads Trent Boult and Kyle Jamieson. However, Ish Sodhi has marked the return to the test side after five years. The spinner played his last test in 2018 against Pakistan at Dubai International Stadium. Apart from Sodhi, Glenn Philips, a one-time test player, has also earned a call to the team. 

Gary Stead, NZ's head coach, while commenting on the new side under the new leadership of Southee, said that,

"It’s going to be a new experience and the kind of challenge that excites this group. We’ve naturally been keeping an eye on the current Test series against England, particularly the last two Tests of the series held in Multan and Karachi, where we will play. This series will be the first for Tim Southee as Test captain, and together we’re both looking forward to getting into our work for the tour,” 

It is pertinent to mention here that Pak vs NZ test series will be the penultimate series in the WTC 2023. Both New Zealand and Pakistan are out of contention for the WTC 2023. As of now, India, South Africa, and Australia are the three sides to stay alive in the tournament. 

Notably, the red-ball series will kick-start from the Boxing Day Test, scheduled to be played between December 26th and 30th.

Here is the squad for New Zealand for Pakistan tests:

Tim Southee (c), Michael Bracewell, Tom Blundell (wk), Devon Conway, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Henry Nicholls, Ajaz Patel, Glenn Phillips, Ish Sodhi, Blair Tickner, Neil Wagner, Kane Williamson, Will Young.