New Zealand includes Ajaz Patel for Sri Lanka Tests

New Zealand included Ajaz Patel in its squad for the upcoming two home Tests against Sri Lanka.

Ajaz Patel has been rewarded for his match-winning spells with the ball against Pakistan in the UAE.   -  Getty Images

Ajaz Patel was the only specialist spinner named in New Zealand's 13-man squad for the upcoming two home Tests against Sri Lanka.

Patel, 30, was given his chance against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates and took 13 wickets at an average of 29.61 in three Tests.

The left-armer will get another opportunity for the Black Caps, which faces Sri Lanka in the series opener beginning at the Basin Reserve on Saturday.

Will Young earned his maiden call-up as batting cover as New Zealand look to back up its series win over Pakistan.

"There's a real swell of support for the Test team following their efforts in the UAE, so we're hoping to transition that momentum into a big home summer," selector Gavin Larsen said in a statement on Monday.

"Ajaz certainly grabbed his opportunity on the UAE tour and he's a proven performer in New Zealand conditions.

"Will Somerville was an obvious standout on debut in the Abu Dhabi decider and it's great to know we've got quality spin bowlers who can create competition for places.

"It's an exciting time for Will Young who has been pushing for higher honours for a while now. He scored hundreds against Pakistan A and India A in recent months and fully deserves his call-up.

"The first international of the home summer is always an exciting time and the revamped Basin Reserve should be a fitting setting to launch the Sri Lankan tour."

New Zealand squad: Kane Williamson (c), Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Ajaz Patel, Jeet Raval, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling, Will Young


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