(Reuters) – Top-order batsman Will Young will make his New Zealand debut in the first test against West Indies after BJ Watling was ruled out with a hamstring injury, captain Kane Williamson said on Wednesday.
Tom Blundell will move down the order and take the wicketkeeping gloves in Watling’s absence, with Young opening the batting alongside Tom Latham at Seddon Park in Hamilton on Thursday.
Young was set to make his international debut against Bangladesh in 2019 before the final test in Christchurch was cancelled due to the mass shooting at mosques in the city.
“It’s an exciting opportunity for him at the top of the order and I know he’s just looking forward to getting involved after some near opportunities that didn’t eventuate,” Williamson told a news conference.
Young, 28, averages 43.76 in first-class matches with 10 centuries, the most recent of which came for New Zealand A last week against West Indies.
“Often you come into teams and you are trying to get a feel for the group but he’s got that feel, he’s an experienced player, has played a lot of first-class cricket and to a very high standard,” Williamson added.
A decision on the rest of the lineup will be made early on Thursday, with all-rounders Daryl Mitchell and Mitchell Santner and fast bowlers Trent Boult, Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee and Neil Wagner vying for five spots.
“It’s a great problem to have,” Williamson said.
New Zealand come into the two-match test series having beaten West Indies 2-0 in the Twenty20 series.