William Somerville Earns New Zealand Call-Up as Replacement for Injured Todd Astle
New Zealand have called up 34-year old off-spinner William Somerville as a replacement for Todd Astle, who has been ruled out of the Test series against Pakistan with a knee injury.
Somerville, who recently left New South Wales in order to play first-class cricket in New Zealand so that he could put himself in the reckoning for his country of birth, will likely make his debut against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi on November 16.
"We've been keeping a close eye on Will and like the look of his all-round game and skill-set," selector Gavin Larsen said on Thursday. "He bowls with good control and variation, while his added height means he gets that extra bit of bounce.
"He's also a handy batsman down the order, as he showed with his half-century in the most recent round of the Ford Trophy (vs. Wellington)."
In the two first-class matches that he’s played so far for the Auckland Aces, Somerville has picked up seven wickets.
On the other hand, Astle will return home to consult a knee specialist. He got injured during the New Zealand A vs Pakistan A one-day series in the UAE and also had to miss the last Test New Zealand played against England earlier in 2018 at Christchurch with a strain in his side.
"Despite a period of rest, Todd's knee has, unfortunately, not responded as well as we had hoped," Larsen stated. "The best course of action for Todd is to get home and get it looked at, with an eye to returning in the home summer.
"He worked really hard over the winter and is in some of the best shape of his career at the moment, so for this to happen is a cruel blow."