Jimmy Neesham New Zealand
Jimmy Neesham last played for New Zealand in a series against Australia in 2015Reuters

New Zealand have named a strong 15-man Test squad for the tour to India, with Jimmy Neesham making his return to the team after injury.

The Kiwis will play three Test matches against India, starting later this month, and while it is expected to be a trial by spin, Kane Williamson's men will hope they have enough firepower in the bowling department to trouble the hosts.

Neesham last played for New Zealand in a Test series against Australia in November, 2015, where he was forced to pull out because of a back injury.

However, after playing for the Otago Volts and then English County side Derbyshire, the all-rounder has convinced the selectors enough to be given the nod for this high-profile India series.

"Jimmy has put in a lot of work to make sure he is physically ready for a return to Test cricket," New Zealand selector Gavin Larsen said.

Neesham will give New Zealand an all-round option – the other marquee all-rounder Corey Anderson was not considered as he continues his recover from a back problem – and having played in the IPL in India before, his familiarity with the local conditions will also be seen as a positive factor.

"Having two pace bowling all-rounders in Jimmy and Doug Bracewell helps the balance of the squad, particularly if playing on pitches which demand a spin-heavy bowling attack," Larsen added.

Missing out on selection from the New Zealand team that recently toured Africa for Test matches against Zimbabwe and South Africa are Jeet Raval and Matt Henry.

"Jeet Raval misses out on this tour, but we were really pleased with what we saw of him in Africa," Larsen said. "He did everything asked of him and we'll continue to monitor him closely."

Apart from the likes of Kane Williamson, the captain and best batsman in the team, Ross Taylor, Martin Guptill, Trent Boult and Tim Southee, New Zealand will hope the spinners – Ish Sodhi, Mark Craig and Mitchell Santner – produce the goods against India.

As they showed in the South Africa series, most of the India batsmen are not the greatest of players of quality spin, and having bamboozled the Indians in the World T20 recently, the Kiwis will hope for more of the same from their slow bowlers, even if Test match cricket is a completely different ball game.

"Mitch Santner and Ish Sodhi will have benefitted from getting a taste of Indian conditions earlier this year at the ICC World Twenty20 and both showed excellent form at that tournament," Larsen observed. "It's another big challenge for them early in their young careers, as well as for Mark Craig, who has made some changes in the past six months and has shown growth in his game.

"India's the No.2 ranked side in the world, and their record at home is formidable. We're yet to win a Test series over there and that's motivating for everyone. We've got three Tests to try create a special piece of history."

India and New Zealand will play three Test matches in Kanpur, Kolkata and Indore, with the first one beginning on Sept. 22.

New Zealand squad: Kane Williamson (C), Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Mark Craig, Martin Guptill, Tom Latham, Jimmy Neesham, Henry Nicholls, Luke Ronchi, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling.

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