Devon Conway has earned his first senior New Zealand call-up as part of the T20I squad to face West Indies, with Colin Munro not considered due to his BBL deal with the Perth Scorchers. Tim Southee will captain the side, with Kane Williamson to focus on preparing for the Test series.
Trent Boult has also been left out of the T20I side in favour of Test preparation as that squad retains a familiar look, although injury concerns remain over Colin de Grandhomme (right foot) and left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel (left calf).
Kyle Jamieson, who has been in outstanding Plunket Shield form this season, has also earned his first T20I call-up. But along with Southee and Ross Taylor, Jamieson will only be available for the first two matches before linking up with the Test team.
Conway, the South Africa-born batsman who qualified for New Zealand this August, has been a prolific run-scorer across all formats in domestic cricket – he led the run charts in the Plunket Shield, One-Day Trophy and T20 Super Smash last season. Over the weekend, he also scored 157 for Wellington against Auckland.
Conway is also part of the New Zealand A squad to face West Indies across two three-day games in Queenstown, although his opportunity in the Test squad will have to wait for a bit longer.
“We’re looking forward to welcoming Devon into our environment for the first time and I’m sure he’ll soak up the experience,” New Zealand coach Gary Stead said. “With Colin Munro heading to the Big Bash and therefore unavailable for the Pakistan T20 series pre-Christmas, the selectors are keen to look at other batting options at the top of the order.”
“We’ve had to make a decision on Kane and Trent to prioritise the Test matches, given how important they are to our red-ball team and the fact they both played such big roles in the recent IPL while also managing injuries.
“There’s no secret we’re right in the hunt for the World Test Championship final following our 2-0 win over India [in February], and having Trent and Kane fully fit and focused for the upcoming series will be crucial.”
“Colin and Ajaz have quite different injuries which are requiring different return-to-play protocols. It’s too early at this stage to definitively say what their chances are, but we’re hopeful the next two weeks will make that clearer.”
The T20I series against West Indies starts on November 27 in Auckland just a day after the players who have returned from the IPL will have completed their managed isolation.
“The season schedule is complex and for the first time, we’re going to have a Test squad assembling on the same day we’re playing a T20 international in another city,” Stead said. “We’ve got players at quite different stages, with some having played almost a month of domestic cricket, some in managed isolation following the IPL and others battling injuries.”
When the Test players gather in Hamilton on November 30, Mark Chapman, Doug Bracewell and Scott Kuggeleijn will come into the T20I squad for the final match of the series. Glenn Phillips, who had an impressive CPL campaign, has also been recalled.
The uncapped Will Young remains the spare batsman in the Test squad. Henry Nicholls returned to action this week in the Plunket Shield after recovering from a calf strain and will also be playing for New Zealand A. Tom Blundell, who replaced Jeet Raval at the top of the order during the Australia series late last year, will retain the opening berth.
New Zealand last played international cricket in March with a behind-closed-doors ODI against Australia in Sydney before the emerging Covid-19 pandemic forced the series to be cancelled.