Wellington (New Zealand), Jan.16 (ANI): South African-born pair Kruger van Wyk and B J Watling are in a two-horse race to be New Zealand's new test wicketkeeper after incumbent Reece Young was axed today.
Central Districts gloveman van Wyk, 31, was the only new face in the test 12 named by coach John Wright to face Zimbabwe in the one-off test in Napier, starting on January 26.
From the team who beat Australia by seven runs in Hobart last month, Jesse Ryder (groin) wasn't considered, spinner Daniel Vettori returns from a hamstring injury and van Wyk usurps Young after an indifferent Australian tour where he scored 22 runs in four innings. Watling was 12th man in Hobart.
According to stuff.co.nz, Van Wyk forced his way in on the back of a strong first-class season for Central, averaging 71.80 from four Plunket Shield games pre-Christmas.
Watling, only a part-time gloveman, loomed into calculations when he kept wicket for Northern Districts in their recent Twenty20 matches, ahead of specialist Peter McGlashan.
Watling will take the gloves for a New Zealand XI in a three-day warm-up match against Zimbabwe in Gisborne, starting on Saturday, while van Wyk will open the batting, Wright said.
"There's a lot of competition for the wicket-keeping spot in the country at the moment," he said.
Van Wyk made his first-class debut in South Africa in 2000 and emigrated to New Zealand in 2006. He captained Canterbury then shifted to Central in June 2010.
He has 96 first-class matches to his name, and averages 38.66 with the bat. He also has 276 catches and 14 stumpings.
The New Zealand XI features some promising youngsters in batsman Michael Bracewell, all-rounder Sam Wells and leg-spinner Tarun Nethula, while Otago fast bowler Neil Wagner, the South African eligible for New Zealand selection in April, gets his chance to impress. (ANI)
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