Santner out of England Tests as Watling returns

A fit-again BJ Watling has been recalled by New Zealand, who will be without Mitchell Santner for their upcoming Test series with England.

New Zealand all-rounder Mitchell Santner   -  Getty Images

New Zealand have confirmed key all-rounder Mitchell Santner will miss the two-Test series with England due to his knee injury, but BJ Watling has been recalled after overcoming a hip problem.

Santner, who starred with the bat in the recent one-day international rubber between the sides, has been battling an ongoing issue with his right knee.

In his absence, Todd Astle is the sole frontline spinner included in New Zealand's 12-man squad. Ross Taylor has also been selected despite missing the final ODI in Christchurch with a thigh problem.

Watling, meanwhile, returns in place of Tom Blundell, having recovered from the hip injury that ruled him out of December's Test series against West Indies.

Blundell scored a century on his Test debut versus the Windies, but selector Gavin Larsen is delighted to have Watling available once again.

"BJ is a proven performer at Test level for us and brings a lot to the group both on and off the field," said Larsen.

"We've monitored BJ's progress over the past few months and it's great to see him back with the gloves for Northern Districts. Tom Blundell did a great job in BJ's absence and we’ll keep working with him going forward."

The first Test - a day-night affair - begins in Auckland next Thursday.


New Zealand squad: Kane Williamson (captain), Todd Astle, Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Jeet Raval, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling.

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