ENG vs NZ | Blair Tickner to make his Test debut versus England, confirms Tim Southee

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New Zealand Test captain Tim Southee has confirmed fast bowler Blair Tickner will make his first appearance for the country in red-ball cricket against England in the first Test of the two-match series, starting February 16. Tickner, aged 29, has played nine ODIs, and 17 T20Is for the Black Caps.

The first Test between New Zealand and England, to be played at Bay Oval from February 16 onwards, will be a day-night affair. Ahead of the fixture between the two heavyweights, hosts’ skipper Tim Southee on Wednesday confirmed Blair Tickner will get the opportunity for the first time in the longest format of the game against Ben Stokes and his boys. 

Tickner’s inclusion in the playing XI came after the Black Caps’ recent injury woes of Kyle Jamieson, and Matt Henry’s unavailability for the first Test, while Trent Boult, who opted out from New Zealand Cricket’s (NZC) central contract, has not been considered either.

“Tickner will definitely play,” Southee told the reporters, as quoted by stuff.co.nz. However, the 34-year-old is yet to finalise his line-up, which means one of Jacob Duffy and Scott Kuggeleijn have to wait for a little longer to get to know who will get his first Test cap.

“We’ll wait and see how the wicket shapes up tomorrow,” Southee added. “A whole lot of things factor into it – the first day-night test here, having a cyclone two days before a test match ... the groundsmen are reasonably happy with how the wicket is ... I imagine it'll be a pretty good surface.”

Tickner, since making his international debut in February 2019, has played nine ODIs, and 17 T20Is, scalping 13 in the 50-over format and 16 wickets in the shortest format.

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