Auckland off-spinner William Somerville has earned his maiden call-up to New Zealand squad for the upcoming three-match Test series against Pakistan in the UAE on Thursday (November 8).
Somerville's decision to leave New South Wales to pursue a First-Class career in New Zealand has paid off after the 34-year-old rewarded maiden call-up for the UAE. The right-hander has been named in the squad as a replacement for the injured off-spinner Todd Astle, who suffered a knee injury.
He moved to Auckland Aces to qualify for his birth country New Zealand from New South Wales earlier this year after playing 16 First-Class matches for NSW and his brilliant show at the Kiwi domestic circuit has given him the opportunity to make his international debut in the Test cricket in the UAE.
Somerville has picked up seven wickets in the two first-class matches that the off-spinner has played for Auckland so far in the Plunket Shield and national selectors have given him the node for the UAE tour only after his couple of matches after impressing with good control and variation.
New Zealand selector Gavin Larsen said of William, “We've been keeping a close eye on Will and like the look of his all-around game and skill-set. He bowls with good control and variation, while his added height means he gets that extra bit of bounce. He's also a handy batsman down the order, as he showed with his half-century in the most recent round of the Ford Trophy (against Wellington).”
Astle, who recently missed England Tests with a side strain, will now return to New Zealand to consult a knee specialist after picking up the injury during the one-day series against Pakistan A in the UAE.
Larsen signed off by saying, “Despite a period of rest, Todd's knee has, unfortunately, not responded as well as we had hoped. The best course of action for Todd is to get home and get it looked at, with an eye to returning in the home summer. He worked really hard over the winter and is in some of the best shape of his career at the moment, so for this to happen is a cruel blow.”