New Zealand have dropped opening batsman Martin Guptill from their Test squad for the upcoming visit of Pakistan. Guptill will kick himself for having being run out when on 72 in New Zealand’s last Test against India as a fourth Test match century would surely have saved him from the axe. The thirty-year-old made scores of 56 and 128 not out in his most recent First Class turn out for Auckland but it wasn’t enough to save him from international omission. Guptill averages 42.35 with the bat in ODIs and 34.73 in T20Is. In the longest form of the game however and having had plenty of opportunities (47 Tests) Guptill’s average is 29.38 and that simply isn’t good enough to hold down a spot opening the batting in the Test arena. Guptill will be replaced in the squad by his domestic opening partner Jeet Raval. Guptill actually outscored Raval (84 and 19) in their last First Class match but 5156 First Class runs at 43.69 including fourteen centuries are the sort of numbers that the New Zealand selectors could no longer ignore. Raval was on the tour to India but didn’t make the final XI.
Todd Astle also returns to the frame for New Zealand and Colin de Grandhomme, capped in both limited overs formats earns a Test call-up too. Mark Craig and Mitchell Santner are amongst those injured for New Zealand whilst Jeetan Patel and Ish Sodhi are amongst the others to miss out for the Black Caps.