New Zealand wicketkeeper BJ Watling is doubtful for the first Test against West Indies due to a hamstring niggle. Devon Conway, who scored 41 and 65 not out in the T20 International (T20I) series against the same opposition, has been called in as cover. The 29-year-old is however expected to wait to make his Test debut as Will Young, who was originally named as back-up, could get the nod ahead of him, with the wicketkeeping duties falling to Tom Blundell.
New Zealand coach Gary Stead insists that he will take a final call on the eve of the Test. "We have another injury cover. Devon Conway is here as cover for BJ Watling, who has a slight hamstring niggle that he picked up the day before (Sunday) in his last Ford Trophy match. What that would mean is that Tom Blundell would take the gloves if BJ is ruled out, and bat in the middle order. So that is why we had Conway at training today," Stead said, according to Cricbuzz.
Young was set to make his debut against Bangladesh but could as the match was called-off due to the mosque shootings. He has staked claim for a place in the XI after scoring two fifty-plus scores against West Indies in the warm-up match, one of which was 133. Conway, on the other hand, has been the top run-getter in the Plunket Shield for the last three years – ever since his arrival from South Africa.
Out of his six Tests, Blundell has played four of them as an opener, a position in which he has scored a fifty and a century. However, the select might opt for Young to bat up the order given that Blundell would have the added pressure of ‘keeping as well.
The first Test will be played at Seddon Park, Hamilton from December 3 after which the action will shift to Wellington for the second Test, which will begin from December 10.