Former Sydney University all-rounder, Will Somerville, became the 23rd player from the club to appear in Test cricket when he made his debut for New Zealand against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi yesterday.
Somerville’s path to international cricket was unusual. He played Grade cricket for Eastern Suburbs in 2002-03 before returning to his native New Zealand, where he made his first-class debut for Otago in 2004-05. He played only four matches in four years with Otago, and returned to Sydney in 2009. He joined Sydney University in 2011-12, and developed rapidly, earning Sheffield Shield selection for New South Wales in 2014-15. He was one of five Sydney University players in the NSW team that played Queensland that season (with Nick Larkin, Scott Henry, Ryan Carters and Sean Abbott). Overall, in 12 games for New South Wales, he took 48 wickets at 25.29, with a best return of 8-136 against Queensland at the SCG in 2016-17. This season, he returned to New Zealand to play for Auckland, and he was promoted to the Black Caps touring party after only two Plunket Shield matches.
Will played 87 games for University between 2011-12 and 2015-16, all in First Grade, scoring 916 runs at 22.34 and taking 117 wickets at 26.02.
It’s unusual for a New Zealand off-spinner to make his Test debut against Pakistan at the age of 34, but it has happened before: in 1976-77, the Otago bowler, Peter Petherick, was the same age when he played his first Test at Lahore. Petherick’s first wicket was Javed Miandad (also on debut) and he then immediately dismissed Wasim Raja and Intikhab Alam to complete a hat trick on debut.