New Zealand picked Indian-born opening batsman Jeet Raval in the squad for the forthcoming tour of Zimbabwe and South Africa. Raval was named in the 16-man Black Caps’ squad, which also features the recall of Indian-born spinner Ish Sodhi after a two year absence. The 27-year-old Raval was a junior player in India before moving to New Zealand with his family in 2004.
He averages 43.85 in first-class cricket and hit rich form for the Auckland Aces in this year’s domestic competition, including an unbeaten 202 against Otago. “In the past 12 months we’ve seen his maturity and decision-making continue to improve,” Black Caps coach Mike Hesson said. “He’s learnt to adapt to conditions and has performed well for New Zealand A, so we believe he’s more than ready to make the step up to the international arena.”
Raval will be competing for an opening spot with Martin Guptill and Tom Latham, neither of whom have looked convincing against the new ball in the Test arena. New Zealand will play two Tests against Zimbabwe in Harare, starting on July 29 and August 6 respectively. They then go to South Africa for Tests in Durban and Centurion, starting on August 19 and August 27.
He was born in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, and joined the Auckland cricket team in 2008. He also played one season for Central District Stags. He represented New Zealand at under-19 level in 2006-7. He made his test debut in November 2016 in a home series against Pakistan at Christchurch and opened the innings for News Zealand. He made 55 in the first innings and followed it with 36 in the second innings. He also took four catches in that match.
New Zealand squad: Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Mark Craig, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Luke Ronchi, Jeet Raval, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling, Kane Williamson (capt).