New Zealand hero Blundell retains spot for next Windies Test
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AFP) — Big-scoring New Zealand wicketkeeper Tom Blundell has retained his spot for the second Test against the West Indies starting on Saturday, with BJ Watling still sidelined by injury.
Blundell scored an unbeaten 107 in his maiden Test innings to set New Zealand up for an innings and 67-run victory in the first Test in Wellington.
The modest gloveman, who lives in Wellington, then walked home in his whites, clutching a wicket rather than take the official transport to the team hotel, according to the team.
"What do you do after scoring a century on debut to help win a Test for your country? Walk home in your whites carrying a match stump & get caught by the team van ... of course. @TomBlundellNZ you're a beaut," New Zealand Cricket tweeted with pictures.
Coach Mike Hesson confirmed Tuesday that Blundell would retain his place for the second and final Test which starts in Hamilton on Saturday with the 52-Test Watling still troubled by a hip injury.
Bowling spearhead Tim Southee, who was unavailable for the first Test due to the birth of his child, will return to the squad and is likely to replace Matt Henry in the starting line up.
"It's all gone well and Tim played (domestic cricket on Sunday). He's feeling good and has really nice record for us at Hamilton as well. Good to have him back," Hesson said.
Watling has not taken the gloves for the past five rounds of domestic cricket in New Zealand and there was no indication whether the injury will have healed before England arrive for two Tests in March.
"He's making good progress but slow progress," Hesson said.
"He's able to bat, he can move in the field, probably not quite as freely as he would like, and is unavailable from a keeping point of view. It's a shame."
New Zealand play 13 ODIS and 10 Twenty 20s between the West Indies and England Test series.
New Zealand second Test squad: Kane Williamson (capt), Trent Boult, Tom Blundell, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, He