Todd Astle last played a Test for the BlackCaps against England in March this year. @ Getty Images
Todd Astle last played a Test for the BlackCaps against England in March this year. @ Getty Images

Todd Astle, the injured legspinner, who has been nursing a right knee injury, was on Thursday ruled out of the remainder of the Pakistan series. Astle, who last played a Test for the BlackCaps against England in March this year, has made way for off-spinner Will Somerville, who began playing in the New Zealand domestic cricket this season following three years playing in Sydney.

“Despite a period of rest, Todd’s knee has, unfortunately, not responded as well as we had hoped,” selector Gavin Larsen said on Thursday.

“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, so for this to happen is a cruel blow.”

Meanwhile, at 34, Somerville could become the oldest Test debutant, behind the late Herb McGirr, who debuted in 1930 at the age of 38.

“We’ve been keeping a close eye on Will and like the look of his all-round game and skill-set. He bowls with good control and variation, while his added height means he gets that extra bit of bounce,” Larsen said.

“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. The Test squad already has a leg-spinner in Ish Sodhi and a left-arm spinner in Ajaz Patel, so we think Will’s right arm off-spin will balance out the attack nicely.”

New Zealand, who were blanked out in the T20 International series, bounced back to win the first of the three-ODIs by 47 runs on Wednesday, courtesy Trent Boult’s hat-trick. The next ODI will be on Friday at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

The three-match Test series begins with the first Test on November 16.