Gary Stead mulls the selection of a spinner

2018-12-09 at 13:27

New Zealand cricket coach Gary Stead has a conundrum ahead of him as he mulls over the selection of a spinner for the first test against Sri Lanka, with only one likely to be picked.

Stead and his team returned to New Zealand today after wrapping up a rare away series victory against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates and will rapidly move into preparations for their first test against Sri Lanka next Saturday in Wellington.

Unlike the spin-friendly conditions in the UAE, the Basin Reserve is likely to be more conducive to going with a three-pronged pace attack with Neil Wagner joining Trent Boult and Tim Southee with just a solitary spinner.

New Zealand used two slow bowlers in each of the three tests in the UAE, with left arm spinner Ajaz Patel and offspinner Will Somerville instrumental in the first and third test victories.

Legspinner Ish Sodhi also appeared in two of the matches.

With Mitch Santner and Todd Astle both injured but likely to return this summer, Stead said the selection of a slow bowler would be difficult.

Stead told reporters “We’ll have to pick one – it’s hard and that’s a really good place to be in. You look at the likes of Mitch Santner and Todd Astle who are both out as well, and then we’ve had three spinners on this tour with Ish, Ajaz and Will. It’s a good place to be in, it’s not easy, but there will be one that’s selected.”

Stead said he would name his squad tomorrow for the first of the two matches, which if New Zealand win 2-0 can vault them to number two in the world test rankings.

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