New Zealand have confirmed reserve batsman and wicketkeeper Tom Blundell will open during the second Test against Australia on Boxing Day in Melbourne with Jeet Raval set to be dropped.
Blundell opened for New Zealand in their single day practice match against Victoria XI at Scotch College in Melbourne on Sunday and made 59. The two-day game had been reduced to a single day fixture due to extreme heat in Melbourne on Friday.
Blundell has only played two Test matches, against West Indies at home in 2017, where he made an unbeaten century on debut as wicketkeeper. He has never opened in 93 first-class innings and has not batted any higher than No. 5. He has only opened in four domestic T20s and six List A matches for Wellington but has not done so since 2017.
But Blundell is confident he can make the adjustment.
“I think it’s just a mindset shift,” Blundell said. “I’ll probably try and still bat the same but it’s just the first 30 balls, you have to be a little bit patient outside that off stump. If I can last those 30 balls hopefully I can bat a little bit more positively.
“I feel like I can do a good job wherever and this game I’ve been given the opportunity to open and I’m really looking forward to Boxing day.”
Raval’s form has forced New Zealand’s hand after he failed to reach double figures in seven of his last nine Test innings. Trent Boult is also likely to return from his intercostal injury to replace the injured Lockie Ferguson.
Australia is set to make one change with coach Justin Langer confirming to 6PR on Saturday that James Pattinson would replace injured fast bowler Josh Hazlewood.