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Raval to make Black Caps debut

NZN 9/06/2016

Auckland opener Jeet Raval is the sole new face in the Black Caps Test squad to tour Zimbabwe and South Africa.

The 27-year-old left-hander averaged 55.71 last season, making three centuries, and has a first class career average of 43.85.

Coach Mike Hesson said there was no doubt Raval deserved his call-up.

"Jeet has been impressive in the Plunket Shield for a number of years now and in the last 12 months we've seen his maturity and decision making continue to grow.

"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."

Legspinner Ish Sodhi, who last appeared in a Test two years ago, has been recalled to the New Zealand team, which will be captained by Kane Williamson.

Hesson said Sodhi's ongoing development had been impressive.

"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."

Sodhi joins Mark Craig and Mitchell Santner to provide the Black Caps with three frontline spin options.

The Black Caps will play two Tests in Harare against Zimbabwe, the first beginning on July 29 and the second on August 6.

They'll then travel to South Africa for the first Test in Durban on August 19, with the second a week later in Centurion.

Hesson said the squad has been selected with specific conditions in mind.

"Having played in both Zimbabwe and South Africa last year, we have some insight into what the pitches could be like this time around and we've selected our squad accordingly."

"Playing two Tests in Harare, we need to be prepared for dry turning surfaces, but also know that Durban often has a good covering of grass."

Black Caps: Kane Williamson, Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Mark Craig, Martin Guptill, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Luke Ronchi, Jeet Raval, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling.

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