New Zealand plans to give retiring Ross Taylor the perfect send off when it faces Bangladesh in a two-Test series beginning in Mount Maunganui on Saturday, with the tourist’s hopes of playing party pooper dimmed by the absence of talismanic all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan.
World Test champion New Zealand is without regular skipper Kane Williamson, who has been sidelined by a nagging elbow injury which flared up during the team’s 1-0 series loss in India earlier this month.
Stand-in skipper Tom Latham, however, will welcome back fast bowlers Trent Boult and Neil Wagner as the home side aims to rattle Bangladesh with pace.
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New Zealand has dropped Ajaz Patel barely three weeks after the left-arm spinner bagged all 10 India wickets in Mumbai, keeping all-rounder Rachin Ravindra as its lone spin option.
There will be no shortage of motivation in Taylor’s last series after the 37-year-old announced his decision to quit international cricket in New Zealand’s home summer.
“His experience has held the side together on countless occasions and his catching record speaks for itself,” coach Gary Stead said of the 37-year-old.
“There’s no doubt we’re going to miss him when he’s gone. I know Ross is really focused on performing well in these remaining series and going out on the right note.”
Bangladesh will need to conjure something extraordinary to prevent that from happening, having arrived without Shakib, who opted out of the series, and still smarting from a 2-0 home loss against Pakistan. Mominul Haque and his team’s preparations were also hampered after spin bowling coach Rangana Herath tested positive for COVID-19 and several players were put in isolation.
- New Zealand : Tom Latham (captain), Tom Blundell (wicketkeeper), Trent Boult, Devon Conway, Matt Henry, Kyle Jamieson, Daryl Mitchell, Henry Nicholls, Rachin Ravindra, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, Will Young.
- Bangladesh : Mominul Haque (captain), Shadman Islam, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Mushfiqur Rahim, Fazle Mahmud, Liton Das, Nurul Hasan (wicketkeeper), Yasir Ali, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Taijul Islam, Taskin Ahmed, Abu Jayed, Ebadot Hossain, Shoriful Islam, Khaled Ahmed, Shohidul Islam, Mahmudul Hasan Joy, Mohammad Naim.