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Rance named in T20 squad

Seth Rance bowling for the Black Caps. PHOTO/GETTY IMAGES

CRICKET

Jake Beleski
[email protected]

Greytown’s Seth Rance will be packing his bags for the United Arab Emirates in October after earning selection in the Black Caps T20 team to take on Pakistan.

The tour itinerary is yet to be announced, but Rance is part of a 12-strong squad named to contest three T20s on the tour, with two more players to be added from the New Zealand A squad.

Rance has been a key member of the Central Stags squad and helped them reach the Super Smash T20 final in January.

He has been enjoying some time off over the past couple of months, but was “extremely pleased” to be named in the team and is ready to get back into it now.

“It’s been a long time between games I suppose – we’ve had a long layoff and I had a stress fracture at the end of last season as well.

“I’m ready to get back into it now but it was good to give the body a break.”

Rance said he was refreshed from an extended break from the game, especially after his past two New Zealand winters were spent playing in England.

Playing in the scorching heat of Dubai will be a new experience, but it was a challenge he was looking forward to.

“I can’t imagine playing cricket there, it’s just that hot.

“We’ll have to prepare really well and be in good shape when we get there.”

Rance’s teammate, left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel, is in line to make his Black Caps debut after being named in the test squad to play Pakistan on the same tour.

The 29-year-old, named last season’s Domestic Player of the Year after helping the Stags to the Plunket Shield title, has been called into the squad as a replacement for Mitchell Santner, who is still recovering from knee surgery.

Patel has been the Plunket Shield’s top wicket-taker over the past three seasons, snaring 48 wickets at 21.52 in his most recent campaign.

He has also been named in the NZ A squad, which will tour the UAE ahead of the Black Caps, playing three T20s, three 50-over games and two first-class matches against Pakistan A.

Selectors Gavin Larsen, and Mike Hesson – in his last assignment for NZC before stepping down from his Black Caps head coach role at the end of this month, on Wednesday announced the test, ODI, T20 and NZ A squads for the UAE tour, which will start in mid-October.

Larsen said the tour presented a good opportunity for Patel, who will join Todd Astle and Ish Sodhi as a front-line spinner in the 15-strong test squad.

“Ajaz has deserved his inclusion on the sheer weight of his domestic first-class form over the past couple of summers,” said Larsen.

“With Mitch Santner not fully recovered yet from his knee surgery, it’s nice to have both wrist [Astle and Sodhi] and finger [Patel] spin options, given the likely conditions in the UAE.”

The selectors opted to include a second wicket-keeper in Tom Blundell alongside BJ Watling in the test squad.

Watling has also been selected in the ODI squad to play three matches against Pakistan, with two players to be added later – either from the T20 or the NZ A sections of the tour.

The NZ A squad will feature first-time selections for Patel, pace bowlers Kyle Jamieson and Blair Tickner, and NZ Under 19 representative, Rachin Ravindra.

– with NZ CRICKET

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