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Kyle Jamieson returns to New Zealand squad for England Tests

Auckland, Feb 2 (IANS) New Zealand fast bowler Kyle Jamieson is set for an international return after recovering from his back injury as he was named in the 14-member Test squad to face England in a two-Test series at home, starting later this month.

Jamieson last played for New Zealand against England in the Nottingham Test last year, when he was forced off the field with a back injury. Missing in action for more than seven months, he recently played T20 and List A cricket for Auckland.

The tall fast bowler is one among five quick-bowling options in the squad with skipper Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Matt Henry and Blair Tickner the others.

“Kyle is a very determined character with a strong desire to play international cricket for New Zealand. Since he was forced from the field in Nottingham he’s been very clear that he wants to get his body right to return,” said Gary Stead, the New Zealand head coach.

“He’s reported good progress since his return to professional cricket with Auckland and he will get the opportunity to play some long form cricket as part of the New Zealand XI Squad to face England in their warm-up match next week at Seddon Park,” he added.

Ish Sodhi, who had a good tour of Pakistan recently, was also named in the squad with all-rounder Michael Bracewell the other spin-bowling option.

Ajaz Patel and Glenn Phillips, both of whom travelled with the Test team to Pakistan, missed out on selection.

“Ish [Sodhi] really impressed us with his approach with bat and ball. He’s worked very hard on both in recent years and it was great to see that on the international Test stage,” Stead added on the leg-spinner’s selection.

Meanwhile, Doug Watson will be with the coaching staff for the first Test with batting coach Luke Ronchi taking a break following the India series. He will join for the second Test in Wellington.

The series starts with a pink-Ball day-night Test at the Bay Oval in Tauranga from February 16 to 20. The second Test is at Wellington’s Cello Basin Reserve from February 24 to 28.

New Zealand Test squad: Tim Southee (c), Michael Bracewell, Tom Blundell (wk), Devon Conway, Matt Henry, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Henry Nicholls, Ish Sodhi, Blair Tickner, Neil Wagner, Kane Williamson, Will Young.