New Zealand retain Test squad for series against India

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“If Ross is unavailable for one of the Tests, then I know Jesse would do a very good job”

New Zealand have not made any changes to their Test squad for their upcoming two-Test series against India, which gets underway on February 6 in Auckland.

However, the national selectors did announce that flamboyant opening batsman Jesse Ryder will be travelling with the Test team as a replacement for Ross Taylor since his second child is due to be born at some point throughout the series.

There was no place in the side for opener Martin Guptill, whose last Test for New Zealand came against England in May 2013.

“Martin was discussed along with Tom Latham who is also pressing his claims at the top of the order,” New Zealand head coach Mike Hesson said. “We are showing some faith in both Hamish [Rutherford] and Peter [Fulton].

“I think we all know what Peter did last time he was at Eden Park (scored against England). Hamish showed some really good qualities in Hamilton to get us through that last Test win (against West Indies). It is a hard side to make at the moment.”

Hesson also dismissed claims that Fulton was starting to lose his touch, especially since he has only managed to score 273 runs at an average of 22.75 in his last seven Tests.

“He played really nicely in Dunedin [against West Indies] for us,” Hesson said. “He had two Tests after that where he did not score. That is the lot of an opening batsman. Occasionally he can miss out but he has also played some very valuable innings for us.”

Hesson reiterated that Ryder will only play in the Test series if Taylor is unavailable.

“[Ryder] is playing really nicely,” Hesson said. “[Batsmen at] Three, four, five had a good last series so there is no spot for him there. But if Ross is unavailable for one of the Tests, then I know Jesse would do a very good job.”

Hesson also had some words of encouragement for 21-year-old leg-spinner Ish Sodhi.

“Even if it a green wicket, it is not green for five days,” Hesson said. “So if your seamers are able to do the job over the first two-three days, then you have got some variation coming over the back end. It will have to be very, very green for us not to play a spin bowler.

“He [Sodhi] has returned to first-class cricket. He has some experience in the shorter form and he’s performed nicely in that. So he’s confident and he’s the best spin bowler in the country and he’s only 21.”

New Zealand Test squad: Brendon McCullum (c), Corey Anderson, Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Peter Fulton, Hamish Rutherford, Jesse Ryder, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling, Kane Williamson

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