New Zealand included five spinners in a 15-man Test squad named Friday to tour India later this month in the Black Caps’ opening series of their World Test Championship defence.

The New Zealanders won the inaugural Championship after defeating India in the final at Southampton in June, with the next cycle of matches continuing until 2023.

Coach Gary Stead said selectors had tailored the squad to spin-friendly conditions.

“The success of our spinners on recent tours to the sub-continent has been encouraging and we hope they can once again feature prominently,” he said.

Veteran Mitchell Santner will lead the slow-ball attack, supported by Ajaz Patel, Will Somerville, rookie Rachin Ravindra and part-timer Glenn Phillips.

Pace bowlers Tim Southee, Neil Wagner and Kyle Jamieson have also been included, although Trent Boult and Colin de Grandhomme both chose to skip the tour.

Stead said the Black Caps were fired up about defending their title.

“Touring India is one of the greatest experiences in cricket and I know our guys are really looking forward to the challenge,” he said.

“It’s fair to say we’re expecting spin-friendly conditions and it’s great to have a range of options in this department.”

New Zealand will play two Tests in India, the first in Kanpur from November 25-29 and the second in Mumbai from December 3-7.

There will also be three Twenty20 matches on November 17, 19 and 21 featuring the same Black Caps squad currently contesting the T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.

New Zealand Squad: Kane Williamson (capt), Tom Blundell, Devon Conway, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Ajaz Patel, Glenn Phillips, Rachin Ravindra, Mitchell Santner, Will Somerville, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Will Young, Neil Wagner.