Raval rewarded with Test spot


The uncapped Jeet Raval has been named in New Zealand's squad for their tour of Zimbabwe and South Africa.

Raval, 27, is in line for his first cap, having impressed domestically to earn his spot in the 16-man squad.

The Black Caps will face Zimbabwe in two Tests, the first of which starts on July 29, before meeting South Africa in two five-day matches.

Raval averages 43.85 with the bat in first-class cricket, including making 14 centuries, while he has tallied 780 runs at 55.71 in this season's Plunket Shield.

"Jeet has been impressive in the Plunket Shield for a number of years now and in the last 12 months we've seen his maturity and decision making continue to improve," coach Mike Hesson said.

"He's learnt to adapt to conditions and has performed well for New Zealand A, so we believe he's more than ready to make the step up to the international arena."

Spinner Ish Sodhi has also been included as he looks to feature in his first Test since 2014.

He is one of three frontline spinners for the tour, joined by Mark Craig and Mitchell Santner.

Hesson said: "Ish was outstanding in all formats during the second half of last season, beginning with his performances in the Plunket Shield for Northern Districts.

"He was also exceptional for us with the white ball last summer and that's seen him gain valuable confidence on the international stage."

The tour of Africa also marks the first series as Test captain for Kane Williamson, who replaced the retired Brendon McCullum at the helm.


New Zealand squad in full:

Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Mark Craig, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Luke Ronchi, Jeet Raval, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling, Kane Williamson.