Kane Williamson and Trent Boult. Photo- SkySports
Kane Williamson and Trent Boult. Photo- SkySports

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson will miss the upcoming series at home against South Africa after failing to recover from his elbow injury rehabilitation which will continue. Also missing the first Test match will be fast bowler Trent Boult for personal reasons.

In their place, Cam Fletcher and Blair Tickner have earned their maiden Test call-ups, while Colin de Grandhomme and Hamish Rutherford have also been added to the extended New Zealand squad that will face South Africa in a series of two Tests, beginning on February 17 and February 25, with both Tests to be played at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch.

The larger than normal 15-strong squad will allow the selectors to better cover their options while mitigating the health risk associated with bringing players into the team environment at short notice, should there be any injuries.

Kane Williamson Ruled Out Of Test Series, Trent Boult To Miss First Test As New Zealand Announce Squad For 1st Test vs South Africa
New Zealand's Hamish Rutherford. Photo- Getty
New Zealand’s Hamish Rutherford. Photo- Getty

Hamish Rutherford who last played for New Zealand seven years ago, earns a recall due to Kane Williamson’s injury and retirement of Ross Taylor, while Colin de Grandhomme is making a comeback after missing the better part of the last year dealing with a foot injury.

We Had To Make The Tough Call For Him To Sit It Out: Gary Stead On Kane Williamson

The squad will be captained by Tom Latham and will see Trent Boult missing the first Test match the birth of his third child, while Ajaz Patel is a chance to be added for the second Test should conditions suit and provided he overcomes his left-calf injury.

Kane Williamson
Kane Williamson. Image-AFP

Talking about Kane Williamson missing the Test series, New Zealand head coach Gary Stead in an official release: “He was desperate to be fit for the series but with the amount of loading required for Test cricket, we had to make the tough call for him to sit it out and focus on returning for the white ball matches against the Netherlands in March. Kane loves playing for the BLACKCAPS and especially in Test cricket so it was a particularly hard call. However the priority has to be trying to get the injury right and having him available long term.”

Colin de Grandhomme, New Zealand
Colin de Grandhomme (Image Credit: Twitter)

“Injuries and COVID have forced us to be flexible and I’m really excited with the squad picked. I’d like to congratulate Cam and Blair on making the squad and also acknowledge Hamish and Colin for fighting their way back into the Test set-up,” said Stead.

New Zealand has never beaten South Africa in a Test series.

New Zealand squad for the first Test match: Tom Latham (c), Tom Blundell, Devon Conway, Colin de Grandhomme, Cam Fletcher, Kyle Jamieson, Matt Henry, Daryl Mitchell, Henry Nicholls, Rachin Ravindra, Hamish Rutherford, Tim Southee, Blair Tickner, Neil Wagner, Will Young.

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