England have been boosted by the news that captain Kane Williamson will play no part for New Zealand during the upcoming T20 series due to injury.
Williamson has been a thorn in the side for England before, but has been ruled out of the Black Caps’ squad because of a hip concern.
New Zealand will instead by captained by Tim Southee, who also stepped into the role in Sri Lanka recently.
Coach Gary Stead spoke with Williamson on Thursday after the batsman played for Northern Districts against Canterbury and it was agreed a period of rest was the best way forward, a statement from New Zealand Cricket said.
Stead said: “We’ve been monitoring the injury for a while now and it’s the same issue that ruled him out of the final Test against Bangladesh back in March.
“It’s disappointing timing for Kane at the start of an exciting Kiwi summer, but we feel it’s the right decision with a busy season ahead.
“We’re fortunate to have someone experienced like Tim who can comfortably step in and take the reins, as he successfully did on the recent tour of Sri Lanka.”
Fast bowler Lockie Ferguson, having been named in the New Zealand XI side to face England in two warm-up fixtures, has been included for the first three matches of the series as he returns from a broken thumb. Ferguson will then be replaced by Trent Boult for the final two.
The warm-up matches start on Sunday, with the first clash of the series taking place on November 1 in Christchurch.
New Zealand T20 squad: Tim Southee (c), Trent Boult (matches four and five), Colin De Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson (matches one to three), Martin Guptill, Scott Kuggeleijn, Daryl Mitchell, Colin Munro, Jimmy Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Tim Seifert (wk), Ish Sodhi, Ross Taylor, Blair Tickner.
Hodgkiss was appointed to the role in 2017.
The suspension was connected to Smith’s sanction following the ball-tampering scandal.
Professional commentator Mark Church says he is ‘hanging on the coattails’ of 10-year-old Isabelle.
The former England captain would rather see the first-class competition abandoned altogether than played in a ‘meaningless’ form.
Sibley came good and ended up finishing the series against South Africa as England’s top runscorer with 384 runs.
There will be no professional cricket until May 28 at the earliest.