By Niall Anderson in Melbourne
Will Somerville's cricketing career was resurrected when playing in New South Wales, and now his journey is set to come full-circle, being called up by the Black Caps to return to the region to play in the third and final test against Australia.
The Black Caps have bolstered their spinning stocks for the test in Sydney, calling in off-spinner Somerville to replace Trent Boult.
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Boult is heading home after suffering a fracture to his right hand which is set to sideline him for four weeks, and with Matt Henry and Kyle Jamieson providing seam bowling depth, the Black Caps selectors have opted for Somerville, who could potentially jump straight into the starting XI after Mitchell Santner's struggles in Australia.
Somerville could be an asset on a SCG pitch predicted to offer the most turn in this series. Australia called in leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson to give themselves another spinning option for the third test, and while the Black Caps have leg-spinner Todd Astle waiting in the wings, the superior accuracy and bounce of Somerville could be a handy point of difference.
It's unlikely the Black Caps will play two spinners, and although Astle edges Somerville with the bat, Somerville's variations could be used as an excuse to launch him into the starting XI ahead of the two incumbent spinners, as the Black Caps simply can't go into Sydney with Santner as their sole spinner, after his returns of 1-250 in Australia so far, at a loose economy rate of 3.6 an over.
Black Caps head coach Gary Stead said the inclusion of Somerville was a nod to the expected conditions in Sydney.
"It's no secret the SCG pitch is one of the more spin-friendly in Australia," said Stead.
"Will offers something different to our two other spinners in the squad with his right arm off-spin and height.
"The fact he's played a lot of cricket in Sydney during his career for New South Wales will also be helpful as we prepare for this final test."
Somerville has claimed 14 wickets at an average of 25.1 in his three tests, and while the selectors wanted Santner's superior batting skills in New Zealand and Australian conditions, he has shown little signs of those talents against the short-pitched bowling from the Australian speedsters.
The 35-year-old beat out Ajaz Patel for the call-up, with Patel having been already given a chance outside of the subcontinent. Although he was asked to bowl in unfavourable conditions in New Zealand, and was economical, Patel bowled 43 wicketless overs.
Somerville will play for Auckland in their Twenty20 clash with Wellington this afternoon, before linking up with the team in Sydney tomorrow.