New Zealand on Thursday (December 15) recalled Ish Sodhi into their Test squad for the upcoming tour to Pakistan. The leg-spinner’s last appearance in whites was back in November 2018.
Sodhi, 30, has been included alongside Glenn Phillips and the uncapped Blair Tickner as part of a 15-member squad for the two-match Test series, slated to get underway in Karachi on December 26.
The tour will mark Tim Southee’s first assignment as Test captain after Kane Williamson decided to step down as skipper in the longest format.
Despite not being able to play a lot of red-ball cricket lately, Sodhi has a strong first-class record, claiming 279 wickets from 88 matches at an average of 33.72 with 16 five-wicket hauls.
Phillips featured in his only Test against Australia at SCG in January 2020, scoring a half-century in the first innings.
While New Zealand coach Gary Stead acknowledged that Sodhi had not been able to play a lot of red-ball cricket recently, he said the wrist-spinner had the faith of the selectors.
“Ish has been playing international cricket for almost a decade now and we’re backing his skills and experience.
“Looking at the current conditions and style of play in the Pakistan and England Test series, we feel having a wrist-spinner in the team will be important.”
Commenting on Blair Tickner’s inclusion, Stead said: “Blair’s been with the group for our past two Test series and we believe he’s very much ready for Test cricket. He has genuine pace and gets good bounce which is a real asset to have in sub-continental conditions."
Left-arm pacer Trent Boult made himself unavailable for the tour while Kyle Jamieson is still recovering from his back injury.
"It's going to be a new experience and the kind of challenge that excites this group. We've naturally been keeping an eye on the current Test series against England, particularly the last two Tests of the series held in Multan and Karachi, where we will play," Stead said.