15 Nov 2019

Williamson back as Ferguson debuts for Black Caps

9:25 am on 15 November 2019

Black Caps captain Kane Williamson has been passed fit and is joined by fast bowler Lockie Ferguson in the 15-player Test squad announced for series against England and Australia.

Kane Williamson

Kane Williamson will return to the Black Caps set up for the two Tests against England. Photo: Photosport

Ferguson's Test debut caps an impressive rise for the 28-year-old speedster, who has become a mainstay in the Black Caps white-ball sides and finished as the second leading wicket-taker at the recent World Cup in England.

However, it's with the red ball that Ferguson has arguably produced his best form domestically, taking 153 wickets from 42 first-class matches at an average of 24.30.

Selector Gavin Larsen said Ferguson fully deserved his selection.

"There's no doubt Lockie has been knocking on the door for a while now and we're delighted to finally bring him into the test fold," Larsen said.

"It's well documented he has raw pace, but he also possesses a quality bowling skill set and has proved his durability.

Larsen said Ferguson showed good form against England in the recent T20 series, backing that up with a solid outing for Auckland in the Plunket Shield, where he claimed 4-23 against Wellington.

"Our pace bowling stocks are strong at the moment and we feel Lockie will add another dimension to the picture, and will create some great competition."

Lockie Ferguson bowls during the Cricket World Cup 2019 match between New Zealand and Bangladesh at The Oval.

Lockie Ferguson will swap the black shirt for the white one against England and Australia. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The squad also features the return of captain Kane Williamson, who missed the recent five-match T20 series against England with a recurring right hip injury.

Larsen said a two-week period of rest and rehabilitation had Williamson primed to return for what will be a historic inaugural Test at his home ground of Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui.

"Kane's made good progress over the past fortnight and we're delighted to welcome back a player of his class and experience.

"It's obviously going to be a very special Test for him and Trent Boult being such passionate locals - we know there's already a lot of excitement in that part of the Bay of Plenty," Larsen said.

There are two changes from the recent Test squad which toured Sri Lanka, with Ferguson and leg-spinner Todd Astle included in place of spinners Will Somerville and Ajaz Patel.

Larsen said the selections represented a horses for courses approach.

"There were certainly some tough decisions in terms of the spin group with Will and Ajaz performing admirably during their tours of the sub-continent.

"We've gone with the versatility of Mitch Santner and Todd who have experience in the conditions we will face over the next few months and will bolster our lower order batting."

The first Test against England starts in Mt Maunganui on 21 November.

Black Caps Test squad: Kane Williamson (captain), Todd Astle, Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Jeet Raval, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling.

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