Cricket: Jeet Raval called up to NZ test team

By David Leggat

Jeet Raval. Photo / Richard Robinson
Jeet Raval. Photo / Richard Robinson

Auckland opener Jeet Raval has been called up to the New Zealand team for their test tour of Zimbabwe and South Africa.

Lefthander Raval has been picked on the back of a solid domestic season, in which he averaged 55.71, with three centuries, helping Auckland to the Plunket Shield title.

At 27, Raval has long been on the verge of making the national team, since hitting 256 against Central Districts in his debut season, 2008-09.

His first-class average is 43.85 and he's hit 14 first-class centuries. Coach Mike Hesson spoke of his "maturity and decision making continuing to grow" in naming the squad.

"He's learnt to adapt to conditions and has performed well for New Zealand A, so we believe he's more than ready to make the step up to the international arena," Hesson said.

Legspinner Ish Sodhi gets a return to the test squad, from which he has been absent since late 2014 when he played all three tests against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.

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His outstanding performances during the world T20 in India in March caught the eye.

"Ish was outstanding in all formats during the second half of last season, beginning with his performances in the Plunket Shield for Northern Districts. He was also exceptional for us with the white ball last summer and that's seen him gain valuable confidence on the international stage," Hesson said.

Sodhi, offspinner Mark Craig and lefthand allrounder Mitch Santner will provide the spin, while Luke Ronchi will be wicketkeeping cover for BJ Watling. The five fast-medium bowlers are the usual suspects - Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Matt Henry and Doug Bracewell.

The squad fly out on July 11 for an eight-day camp in Johannesburg, before the opening test against Zimbabwe on July 29. Both Zimbabwe tests will be played in Harare, while the South African matches are in Durban and Centurion.

New Zealand test squad for Zimbabwe and South Africa: Kane Williamson (c), Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Mark Craig, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Luke Ronchi, Jeet Raval, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sochi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling.
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