Cricket: New Zealand clear skipper Williamson, Watling for WTC final


FILE PHOTO: Cricket - Second Test - England v New Zealand - Practice - Edgbaston, Birmingham, Britain - June 9, 2021 New Zealand's Kane Williamson during practice Pool via REUTERS/Paul Ellis/File photo

(Reuters) - New Zealand have cleared captain Kane Williamson and wicketkeeper BJ Watling to play in the inaugural World Test Championship final against India, while retaining Ajaz Patel as specialist spinner in their 15-man squad.

Williamson and Watling missed the eight-wicket victory over England at Edgbaston due to injuries. New Zealand won the series 1-0.

Doug Bracewell, Jacob Duffy, Daryl Mitchell, Rachin Ravindra and Mitchell Santner will miss out on the India clash after being part of the original 20-player touring squad.

"There's had to be some tough calls with Mitchell and Daryl victims of the fierce competition we currently have for places in the test side," New Zealand coach Gary Stead said in a team release on Tuesday.

"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."

Patel took four wickets in the victory at Edgbaston, which gave New Zealand a confidence boost ahead of their clash against India in Southampton starting on Friday.

All-rounder Colin de Grandhomme has been retained, with Will Young providing specialist batting cover and Tom Blundell the reserve wicketkeeper.

"Kane and BJ have certainly benefited from their week of rest and rehabilitation and we expect them to be fit and available for the final," said Stead.

New Zealand squad:

Kane Williamson (capt), 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

(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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