New Zealand have announced a 16-man squad for their tour of Africa. The Black Caps selectors have picked uncapped Jeet Raval and also re-called Ish Sodhi back into the Test squad.
Raval, who is known as the Rahul Dravid of his domestic cricket side in Auckland, has maintained an impressive first-class career average of 43.85. In the previous season, he averaged even more (55.71) and helped the Auckland side to lift the Plunkett Shield title.
Many would not know that Raval has represented Gujarat in U-15 and U-17 levels. Raval has also played with the likes of Ajinkya Rahane, Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma and Piyush Chawla. But at the age of 16, he moved to New Zealand and continued with his cricket career.
"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," Hesson was quoted as saying by Cricinfo.
"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."
Sodhi impressed the selectors and coach Mike Hesson with his performances across all the three formats of the game. He did extremely well during the ICC World T20 2016, where he picked up 10 wickets in five matches. Therefore, he has been rewarded with a place along the two other spinners -- Mark Criag and Mitchell Santner.
"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," Hesson said about Sodhi.
New Zealand Test squad for Africa tour: Kane Williamson (C), 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.