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New Zealand prefer Ajaz Patel over Mitchell Santner for WTC Final against India

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Left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel has been named in the 15-man New Zealand squad to take on India in the World Test Championship (WTC) final in Southampton from June 18-22

Patel’s impressive performance which saw him bag four wickets in the recently concluded second Test against England earned him a spot in the WTC final squad ahead of regular spinner Mitchell Santner. Doug Bracewell, Jacob Duffy, Daryl Mitchell and Rachin Ravindra have also been left out of the squad

“We’ve gone with Ajaz as our specialist spinner after an impressive outing at Edgbaston and we believe he could be a factor at the Ageas Bowl," New Zealand head coach Gary Stead said while justifying the spinner’s selection to Asian News International (ANI).

Patel made his Test debut in 2018 against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi. He has gone on to play nine Tests and picked up 26 wickets at an average of 30.46. Incidentally, his best bowling effort came in his debut game, where he picked up seven wickets, including a five-wicket haul.

The 32-year-old spinner has also played a Test against India at Wellington. In that game, he was asked to only bowl six overs - three in each innings - and went wickeless. 

Meanwhile, New Zealand captain Kane Williamson who missed the second Test against England with a nagging elbow injury will also return to lead his side against India at Southampton. Wicket-keeper BJ Watling, who will play the last Test of his career will also be seen behind the stumps against the Indians. 

New Zealand Squad: Kane Williamson (c), Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Devon Conway, Colin de Grandhomme, Matt Henry, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Ajaz Patel, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling, Will Young

Featured Image: AFP/ Peter Parks

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