March 2 (Reuters) - Batsman Rob Nicol and all-rounder Andrew Ellis have been included in New Zealand’s squad for the first of three home tests against South Africa, while captain Ross Taylor returns after a calf muscle injury.
Nicol and Ellis have both played limited overs cricket for New Zealand but have yet to make a test debut.
“Both Rob and Andrew have shown promise against South Africa in limited overs cricket and we believe they can transfer their form across to the test matches,” national selection manager Kim Littlejohn said in a statement on Friday.
Jesse Ryder was left out of the test side because of poor form, team manager Mike Sandle said.
Sandle told local media earlier on Friday that Ryder had also been suspended for the team’s final one-day match against South Africa on Saturday following a breach of team protocols for drinking.
Dean Brownlie, who broke a finger last month, was not considered for the test series due to the injury.
Taylor injured his calf during the only test against Zimbabwe in Napier in January and missed the following limited overs matches against the same opponents and South Africa.
Brendon McCullum captained the side in his absence.
“We are pleased with the way the test team has performed this summer and this group is looking forward to the challenge of continuing that success,” Littlejohn added.
The first test begins at University Oval in Dunedin on March 7.
Squad: Ross Taylor (captain), Brent Arnel, Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Andrew Ellis, Martin Guptill, Chris Martin, Brendon McCullum, Rob Nicol, Tim Southee, Daniel Vettori, BJ Watling, Kane Williamson.
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