Cricket: Dreams come true for Blackcap shock selection Will Somerville

Shock Blackcaps call-up Will Somerville says age is just a number after earning his first national selection at 34.

The Wellington-born offspinner is heading to the United Arab Emirates as an injury replacement for legspinner Todd Astle for the test series against Pakistan.

Tipped in 2017 to be an Australian test contender after a stellar season for New South Wales, Somerville moved to Auckland to pursue a lifelong dream of playing for New Zealand.

The former Otago representative took 35 wickets at an average of 23 in the 2016-17 season but struggled to earn selection last year behind internationals Nathan Lyon and Steve O'Keefe.

Somerville quit Australian Cricket after a recommendation from former Blackcaps captain Daniel Vettori had the Aces come calling.

With seven wickets in two Plunket Shield outings, Somerville had eyes on New Zealand A selection, but the Blackcaps wasn't part of the plan this early.

The 34-year-old had a long-term plan to earn a national spot but believes he is good enough to reward the faith of the selectors.

"As a spinner, I think you truly get better with age and that's certainly been the case with me," Somerville told media on Friday.

"I have kept improving and I'm constantly working on my game in order to get better.

"I've clung onto that dream for a long time and been in and out of jobs for a few years but became a full-time cricketer four years ago in New South Wales and turned myself around and it's all taken off from there.

"There was the opportunity to play more cricket after only playing one Sheffield Shield game last season and the Auckland Aces had a spot open and it's been great being a part of that so far this year.

"I was a bit shocked yesterday morning when I got the call from Gavin Larsen.

"I thought it was about the [New Zealand) A games coming up against India as I'd really hoped to be involved in those and then he said that Todd (Astle) was coming home and I had been picked to replace him."

"The loose plan was to come to New Zealand and play for four or five years and see where it took me  it's come a bit faster than I'd expected but it's amazing that it is happening now."

Chief selector Gavin Larsen said Somerville has been on the radar for quite some time, even dating back to his outstanding form in the Australian domestic competition.

"We've been keeping a close eye on Will and like the look of his all-around game and skill-set," Larsen said.

"He bowls with good control and variation, while his added height means he gets that extra bit of bounce.

"He's also a handy batsman down the order, as he showed with his half-century in the most recent round of the Ford Trophy [against Wellington]."

Somerville completes a three-strong spin bowling set in the squad, alongside legspinner Ish Sodhi and left-arm orthodox Ajaz Patel with a combination of two likely to earn starting roles on the UAE dustbowls.

Somerville is hopeful to impress enough to be selected and promises to bring the grot needed to bowl long spells in the sub-continent.

"I've got a lot of variations to my bowling. I bring a positive energy but I am pretty calm. I'm always trying and I'll never give up which are all traits I learnt at New South Wales."

The test series begin in Abu Dhabi on November 16.


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