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No Williamson hometown heroics for Bay Oval test

Kane Williamson in action at the Bay Oval in 2019. Photo. Daniel Hines.

New Zealand cricket fans hoping to see hometown hero Kane Williamson in Test match action at the Bay Oval over the New Year are set to be disappointed with the Blackcaps captain missing the upcoming Bangladesh series with an elbow injury.

However, there is still plenty of local interest as Trent Boult and Neil Wagner lead a pace attack at the Mount Maunganui ground.

Williamson will be replaced as captain for the series, which starts on New Year’s Day, by Tom Latham.

Wagner, who is also facing Bangladesh as part of a New Zealand XI side prior to the Test match, and Boult are joined by Tim Southee, Kyle Jamieson and Matt Henry in the seamer-focused bowling attack.

That means no place for 10-wicket hero Ajaz Patel, with Rachin Ravindra and Daryl Mitchell covering the spin and seam all-rounder spots, respectively.

Following an impressive start to his Test career in England, Devon Conway returns to the squad after breaking his hand in the ICC T20 World Cup semi-final against England in November.

Blackcaps coach Gary Stead is confident he has all bases covered for both Bay Oval and Hagley Oval.

“It’s great to be back home and at venues we know well, and where we’ve had success in recent times” says Stead.

“It’s obviously disappointing not to have Kane available for this series but, as we noted in India, he is undergoing a sustained period of rest followed by rehabilitation, strengthening and gradual batting loading.

“We have every confidence in Tom leading the side - he’s done an excellent job in the past when called upon.

“You do feel for Ajaz after his record-breaking display in India. However, we’ve always applied a horses-for-courses selection policy and believe the players selected best fit the way we want to take on Bangladesh here at home.”

Stead also notes the inclusion of both Ravindra and Mitchell.

“We feel having both Rachin and Daryl in the squad gives us a nice balance and the ability to pick a side best suited to the conditions we expect.”

It’s a slightly later than usual start for the Blackcaps home summer, with the Test at Bay Oval their first in New Zealand since winning the ICC World Test Championship last season.

“We all remember the epic finish against Pakistan at Bay Oval last season and it’s great to be playing Test cricket there again this summer,” says Stead.

“The Hagley Oval Test in the New Year is becoming a staple of the home summer and I know the players and staff love coming to Christchurch to play at a venue where we’ve previously enjoyed plenty of success.”

New Zealand Cricket have also announced the Day For It campaign with a dress up day for Day Two at the Bay Oval in which fans are encouraged to get creative in their support of Test cricket, with prizes and a ‘Walk The Wicket’ show for best dressed on offer.

“Seeing the crowd enjoying their cricket really lifts the guys and we know from grounds like Edgbaston in England how much the dressing-up can add to the atmosphere.” says Stead.

“While you may not see me in fancy dress, I’m sure the Kiwi summer crowds will get into it.”

Blackcaps Test squad for the Bangladesh Test series starting on January 1 2022 at the Bay Oval:

Tom Latham (c) - Canterbury

Tom Blundell (wk) - Wellington Firebirds

Trent Boult - Northern Districts

Devon Conway - Wellington Firebirds

Matt Henry - Canterbury

Kyle Jamieson - Auckland Aces

Daryl Mitchell - Canterbury

Henry Nicholls - Canterbury

Rachin Ravindra - Wellington Firebirds

Tim Southee - Northern Districts

Ross Taylor - Central Stags

Neil Wagner - Northern Districts

Will Young - Central Stags

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