Matt Henry has become the third Black Caps seamer ruled out of this month’s ODI series in Pakistan and India due to injury.
He joins Adam Milne and Kyle Jamieson on the sideline after bowling through an abdominal strain on the final day of the drawn second test in Karachiin what coach Gary Stead called “a gutsy effort”.
It is expected he will be out for between two to four weeks, which means he should be available for the Black Caps’ next test, against England in Mount Maunganui, which starts on February 16.
The three-match series against Pakistan starts on Monday [first ball 10.30pm NZ time]with the three-match series in India to follow from next Wednesday.
A replacement for Henry is yet to be named, with Jacob Duffy a potential contender.
The Otago Volts seamer is already set to replace Tim Southee when the Black Caps move to India, but could now find himself on an earlier flight north.
It’s also possible his arrival will remain as scheduled, with another player traveling earlier to take Henry’s spot. Blair Tickner replaced Milne earlier this week, when he was ruled out due to concerns about his preparation and a fresh side strain.
While Jamieson has missed this month’s international action as he recovers from a back injury suffered in England last June, he is nearing a return at domestic level with the Auckland Aces in the Twenty20 Super Smash.
Black Caps coach Gary Stead said the seamer’s fitness was being assessed on “a week-by-week basis,” with the two-test visit from England the team’s next assignment once they finish their visit to India with three T20s.
“He’s due to start playing for Auckland again within about a week or so,” Stead said of Jamieson.
“We’ll make a decision a little bit closer to the time around the England test series whether that is maybe a step too far, or whether it is the right time for him to play again.
“He’s been out of cricket for a long time now and I think it would be silly to push too quickly and put him back again.”
If Jamieson was to be considered for the England tests, he could get some red-ball cricket under his belt by playing against them in warm-up matches for a New Zealand XI the week before the first test.
If he doesn’t enter the frame against England, he will be able to play first-class cricket in the Plunket Shield before the two-test series against Sri Lanka that starts on March 9 and is followed by three ODIs and three T20s.
While Jamieson’s involvement remains up in the air, Stead poured cold water on the idea of Trent Boult being called upon to play England.
After being released from his New Zealand Cricket contract, the left-arm seamer has been busy playing in Australia’s Big Bash League and is soon off to the United Arab Emirates for the inaugural ILT20, which is due to end just over 72 hours before the first ball of the first test.
While his duties with MI Emirates could end as early as a week before that, depending on how they fare in the six-team competition, Stead said he “wouldn’t have thought” a test appearance for Boult was possible.
“Trent and I have had discussions and I think his return from the UAE would only be a day or two immediately prior to [the England series].
“From a workload perspective, I think [playing England is] out of the picture.”
Boult’s involvement with the Black Caps since giving up his central contract has been off and on, with NZ Cricket’s policy of prioritizing contracted players for selection being applied haphazardly.
He played in everything up until the end of the T20 World Cup in Australia in November, but was not selected for the home T20 and ODI series against India that followed.
His Big Bash and ILT20 commitments then kept him out of consideration for the test and ODI series in Pakistan and the ODI and T20 series in India.
He has expressed a desire to play at the ODI World Cup in India in October and November and appears to still be in the mix, despite his contractual status.
Wicketkeeper Tom Blundell joined Henry in suffering an injury in the second test against Pakistan – an adductor strain that will keep him out of action for the Wellington Firebirds in the Super Smash for two to four weeks.
Stead said Blundell’s progress over the past few days suggested he would be back sooner rather than later in that window and that he would be ready to go for the England tests, which were due to be his next internationals.