22 Feb 2019

Cricket: Astle edges out Patel

10:09 am on 22 February 2019

After a couple of injury setbacks, the Canterbury leg-spinner Todd Astle is poised to return to the Test arena.

The 32-year-old who has played just three tests previously was ruled out of the second Test against England in June and the tour of UAE last year, but after a successful comeback from knee surgery has been included as the specialist spinner for the upcoming three-Test series against Bangladesh.

Astle's selection comes at the expense of the Central Stags Ajaz Patel who played both Tests against Sri Lanka in December.

Leg spinner Todd Astle has edged out Ajaz Patel from the Black Caps test side.

Leg spinner Todd Astle has edged out Ajaz Patel from the Black Caps test side. Photo: Photosport

Left arm spinner Mitchel Santner hasn't been included as he continues recovering from a knee knee surgery - despite playing in the recent one day series against Bangladesh.

The rest of the BLACKCAPS Test squad remains unchanged from the side that defeated Sri Lanka 1-0, with uncapped right-hander Will Young retained as the batting cover.

Selector Gavin Larsen said he was pleased with the stability in the Test side who are currently on an unprecedented New Zealand Test winning streak of four consecutive series.

"One of the hallmarks of this group is how tight they are and we've seen them really galvanise as a tough Test unit over the past few years.

"The spinning position has been the only real area we've changed and that's been largely dependent on conditions and injuries.

"We're in a fortunate position having a number of high-quality spinners available, and it's a tough call on Ajaz who was a star of the UAE tour," said Larsen.

"It's great though to have Todd fit again and we're keen to see what his wrist-spin can offer in New Zealand conditions, and he'll also bolster the batting."

The first Test of the series starts in Hamilton on Thursday, with the final two games of the home summer in Wellington and Christchurch.