Johannesburg: New Zealand right-arm seamer Matt Henry has been confirmed as a replacement for injured Tim Southee for the opening Test of the two-match series against West Indies, beginning at the Basin Reserve on Friday.
Confirming the news, skipper Kane Williamson revealed that Henry has been preferred as Southee’s replacement over fast bowler Lockie Ferguson for the first Test match.
Despite Ferguson bagging seven wickets for New Zealand A against the West Indies earlier this week, Williamson insisted that Henry has been chosen for the national team since he has been playing exceedingly well for a long time now.
“He probably hasn’t had the opportunities he’s deserved and now is a great opportunity for him. He’s a different bowler to Lockie but has been bowling with good pace and does tend to move the ball well,” Sport24 quoted Williamson, as saying.
As a result, Henry will join the third pace-bowling spot with Trent Boult and Neil Wagner.
Earlier, Southee was ruled out of the first Test against West Indies because of a pending birth of his first child.
Meanwhile, uncapped wicketkeeper-batsman Tom Blundell is also in line to make Test debut for New Zealand after being drafted in the squad as BJ Watling’s replacement, who was ruled out due to a hip injury.
Besides Tests, the two sides are also scheduled to play three-match ODI series, beginning December 20 at the Cobham Oval, Whangarei.
The New Zealand squad for first Test is as follows:
Kane Williamson (captain), Tom Latham, Jeet Raval, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, Tom Blundell, Mitchell Santner, Colin de Grandhomme, Matt Henry, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult.