Redmond back for New Zealand after five-year test wait

WELLINGTON,  (Reuters) – Top-order batsman Aaron Redmond has earned a New Zealand test recall, five years after he last played the longest form of the game, for the series against West Indies that starts next week.

Aaron Redmond
Aaron Redmond

The 34-year-old has been named in a 13-man squad for the three-match series that starts at the University Oval in Dunedin on Dec. 3 ostensibly to provide cover for the injured Kane Williamson who broke his thumb last month.

Redmond, who last played a test against Australia in 2008, has been in good form in Plunket Shield first-class cricket for the past two seasons and batted well in a warm-up match in Christchurch.

“Aaron has made a good start to the Plunket Shield to date and on top of the 67 he scored yesterday for the New Zealand XI we felt he was the best top order batting cover,” selection manager Bruce Edgar said yesterday.

Williamson broke his thumb on the tour of Bangladesh and medical staff had thought his injury may take up to six weeks to heal. He will undergo a fitness check before the team is finalised.

“Kane has been in the nets batting and bowling and getting his intensity levels up,” Edgar said. “We’re confident he should be right come Tuesday.”

Pace bowler Tim Southee is also back in the squad after ankle surgery in July.

He was gradually eased back when he played in the limited- overs portion of New Zealand’s tour to Bangladesh.

All-rounder Corey Anderson has also been included but is battling against a rib injury he sustained in Bangladesh and may play as just a batsman in Dunedin if the home side decide to pick an all-seam attack and not include leg-spinner Ish Sodhi.

The 20-year-old Sodhi impressed on the Bangladesh tour and Edgar said if the conditions suited him he would be given another chance.

Williamson, if fit, is likely to fill the spinning role if New Zealand go with a four-pronged pace attack of Southee, Trent Boult, Neil Wagner and Doug Bracewell.

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