Wellington: New Zealand fast bowler Tim Southee has been ruled out of the first Test of two-match series against West Indies”>West Indies as he and his wife are expecting the birth of their first child.
The Black Caps will kickstart their summer schedule with the opening Test at the Basin Reserve on Friday.
In Southee’s absence, uncapped batsman George Worker has been roped in the Test squad.
Meanwhile, fast bowler Lockie Ferguson was also named in the squad and that he would now battle with Matt Henry for the third pace bowling spot behind Trent Boult and Neil Wagner.
Reflecting on the same, national selector Gavin Larsen said Worker has been called in the side on the back of his brilliant performances in the first-class cricket over the last few years.
“Obviously there are things more important than cricket and we support Tim and his decision to stay with his family right now. George will join the Test squad for the first time on the back of his form in First Class cricket over the past couple of seasons,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Larsen, as saying.
Worker, who has not appeared for New Zealand in Tests, has notched up 737 runs at an average of 49.13 in nine first-class matches he played this year.
However, he has played six limited-overs international matches since making his debut in a T20I against Zimbabwe in October 2015.
Meanwhile, uncapped wicketkeeper-batsman Tom Blundell is also in line to make Test debut for New Zealand after being drafted in the squad as BJ Watling’s replacement, who was ruled out due to a hip injury.
Besides Tests, the two sides are also scheduled to play three-match ODI series, beginning December 20 at the Cobham Oval, Whangarei.