New Zealand lost their recent Test series against South Africa and India    Getty Images
New Zealand lost their recent Test series against South Africa and India Getty Images

New Zealand opener Martin Guptill’s faltering Test career appeared to be over Thursday when he was dropped from the Black Caps’ squad for this month’s series against Pakistan. Guptill was not named in the 13-man squad for the two-Test series after repeatedly failing to showcase his limited-overs form in the five-day version of the game. He was given a final chance on the recent tour of India but managed only one half century in six innings, continuing his woes against the red ball. The 30-year-old averages 42.35 in one-dayers but only 29.38 in Tests. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Pakistan vs New Zealand, 1st Test at Hagley Oval, Christchurch

His absence means Indian-born batsman Jeet Raval is likely to earn his debut in the first Test against Pakistan beginning in Christchurch next Thursday. Raval was considered unlucky to miss out on the India tour but chief selector Gavin Larsen said he should thrive in New Zealand conditions. “His (domestic) form in recent seasons has been excellent and the opportunity for Jeet to begin his international career in familiar conditions will be important,” he said.

All-rounder Colin de Grandhomme was the other uncapped player named in the squad, while Todd Astle earned a recall four years after his sole Test appearance. Speaking to ESPNCricinfo.com, New Zealand selector Gavin Larsen said, “Jeet has been in the picture for a while now and he benefitted from spending time in the environment during the tour of Africa. His form in recent seasons has been excellent and the opportunity for Jeet to begin his international career in familiar conditions will be important.” ALSO READ: Azhar Ali: Pakistan is very good with comebacks, so it s not all lost

He further added, “Luke, Martin, Doug miss out this series, but we know that they and the others who miss out will continue to work hard on their game and get the chance to continue staking a claim in the domestic competition.” Speaking about the entry of Astle, Larsen mentioned, “Todd’s been incredibly consistent at the domestic level, having been one of the top four wicket-takers in the Plunket Shield for the past threes seasons. His bowling has continued to improve and he’s also shown impressive form with the bat, so Todd provides a similar skill set to Mitchell Santner in his absence.”

He concluded, “Since Colin returned from injury last season, he’s made a number of key contributions with bat and ball. He’s made an impressive start to the current Plunket Shield season and he provides us with another strong allrounder option.”

New Zealand Squad: Kane Williamson (capt), Todd Astle, Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Jimmy Neesham, Jeet Raval, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling.