Ajaz Patel retained, Will Young handed first Test call-up by New Zealand
Ajaz Patel is in line to play his first match for New Zealand on home soil. @AFP

Ajaz Patel is the only specialist spinner in New Zealand‘s 13-man Test squad for the two-match series against Sri Lanka starting Saturday in Wellington, with Will Somerville and Ish Sodhi released to play in the fourth round of the Plunket Shield.

The uncapped batsman Will Young has earned his maiden call-up after impressive scores in domestic cricket and for New Zealand A.

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From the Test squad that toured the UAE and beat Pakistan 2-1 last week, the spinners Somerville and Sodhi and wicketkeeper Tom Blundell miss out.

Left-arm spinner Patel, 30, made his Test debut in the UAE in his first match bowled New Zealand to a four-run win in Abu Dhabi.

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His Central Districts team-mate Young, 26, has recently scored two centuries for New Zealand A against India A. He averages 41.38 after 66 first-class games.

“There’s a real swell of support for the Test team following their efforts in the UAE, so we’re hoping to transition that momentum into a big home summer,” selector Gavin Larsen said in a Blackcaps release.  “Ajaz certainly grabbed his opportunity on the UAE tour and he’s a proven performer in New Zealand conditions.

“Will Somerville was an obvious stand-out on debut in the Abu Dhabi decider and it’s great to know we’ve got quality spin bowlers who can create competition for places. It’s an exciting time for Will Young who has been pushing for higher honours for a while now. He scored hundreds against Pakistan A and India A in recent months and fully deserves his call-up. The first international of the home summer is always an exciting time and the revamped Basin Reserve should be a fitting setting to launch the Sri Lankan tour.”

The first Test between New Zealand and Sri Lanka starts December 15 at the Basin Reserve.

New Zealand Test squad: Kane Williamson (capt), Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Ajaz Patel, Jeet Raval, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling (wk), Will Young