New Zealand wicketkeeper BJ Watling is in doubt for the first Test against West Indies as he battles to recover from a hip injury but has been named in a 12-man squad for the Wellington match starting on December 1. He has been involved in three of the six 200-run partnerships for the sixth wicket for New Zealand.
Watling will only participate as a batsman in the next domestic game against Auckland starting on Wednesday (November 15). "He's been through the normal testing and is still feeling it just a bit", selector Garvin Larsen said.
"It's precautionary at this stage; he'll bat in this game [this week] and we're very hopeful he can wear the gloves in the round five Plunket Shield game". It is going to be a tough test for Watling in the next round of Plunket Shield starting next week against Otago.
Doubts over Watling's participation means that 27-year-old Tom Blundell will be in contention for a Test debut at his home ground. Blundell has previously played one T20I and has been included in the New Zealand A side to face West Indies in their warm-up match from November 25. Colin de Grandhomme will retain his place as a seam-bowling all-rounder along with the pace trio of Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Neil Wagner. Matt Henry, who had a good county season, is set to be the backup pace bowler, and will get a greater chance at staking a claim during the warm-up game against Windies.
With a 12-man New Zealand squad there is place for one more who would be added after the warm up game at Lincoln.
New Zealand squad: Kane Williamson (C), Jeet Raval, Tom Latham, Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, BJ Watling (WK), Colin de Grandhomme, Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Matt Henry, Neil Wagner.
Along with the senior side, the New Zealand "A" squad, which will be captained by Martin Guptill was also announced.