Kane Williamson ruled out of New Zealand Test series against South Africa
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson will miss the two-match Test series against South Africa as he recovers from an elbow injury.
Stead said that, unfortunately, the series had arrived too soon for Williamson, in terms of his elbow injury rehabilitation.
“He [Kane Williamson] was desperate to be fit for the series but with the amount of loading required for Test cricket, we had to make the tough call for him to sit it out and focus on returning for the white ball matches against Netherlands in March,” Coach Gray Stead said.
“Kane loves playing for the Black Caps and especially in Test cricket so it was a particularly hard call. However the priority has to be trying to get the injury right and having him available long term.”
Tom Latham has been named as the stand-in skipper.
Cam Fletcher and Blair Tickner have earned their maiden Test call-ups, while Colin de Grandhomme and Hamish Rutherford have been recalled.
Fletcher will be the back-up gloveman to incumbent wicketkeeper Tom Blundell, while paceman Tickner will provide cover for the quick bowlers.
Tickner has played eight T20 Internationals but joins a Test squad for the first time while this is Fletcher’s first taste of a national team dressing room.
Seven years on from his last appearance for New Zealand, Otago batter Hamish Rutherford has earned a recall.
Coach Gary Stead acknowledged that there were significant challenges in selecting the squad to face South Africa.
“Injuries and COVID have forced us to be flexible and I’m really excited with the squad picked,” he said.
“I’d like to congratulate Cam and Blair on making the squad and also acknowledge Hamish and Colin for fighting their way back into the Test set-up.
“Cam has been excellent across the three formats for Canterbury over the past couple of seasons, producing consistent and often match-winning performances for his team.
“This will be a great opportunity for him to come into the Black Caps environment and soak up the experience as much as he can.
“Blair’s been a consistent performer in the Plunket Shield over the past few seasons and we felt his pace, bounce and aggression covered our bases should we lose a pace bowler to injury.
“It’s pleasing to see Colin back in the Test side, having proved such an influential member before his foot injury last season.
“His form of late shows he’s clearly benefited from simply getting back on the park consistently, and it’s great to have his all-round skills and experience to call on.
“It’s a really exciting time for Hamish to be back in the Black Caps after a long time away, and I know he’s absolutely buzzing at the opportunity ahead.”
New Zealand squad
Tom Latham (c), Tom Blundell, Devon Conway, Colin de Grandhomme, Cam Fletcher, Kyle Jamieson, Matt Henry, Daryl Mitchell, Henry Nicholls, Rachin Ravindra, Hamish Rutherford, Tim Southee, Blair Tickner, Neil Wagner, Will Young.
Jack Leach enjoying life in ‘extremely positive’ England set-up
Leach’s first 10-wicket Test match haul and half-centuries from Ollie Pope and Joe Root have left England on course for a 3-0 series win.
Hashim Amla and Ben Geddes hit hundreds as Surrey take control against Kent
The pair produced a third-wicket stand of 213 after the hosts were asked to bat.
Jack Leach career-best puts England on course for New Zealand series whitewash
Spinner Leach took 10 wickets in a Test match for the first time.
New-look England set for ‘exciting time’ as they gear up for South Africa Test
The absence of Katherine Brunt and Anya Shrubsole has opened the door for new faces to make their mark.
England set 296 for series sweep as Jack Leach claims first 10-wicket Test haul
Leach finished with second-innings figures of five for 66 as New Zealand were bowled out for 326.
England thwarted by Daryl Mitchell and Tom Blundell again at Headingley
England drew a blank over the course of two difficult hours on Sunday.
Ben Foakes replaced by Sam Billings at Headingley after positive Covid-19 test
Foakes did not take the field on the third afternoon against New Zealand after complaining of back pain.
Jamie Overton happy to entertain on rollercoaster England Test debut
The pace bowler fell three runs short of a remarkable century at Headingley.
England have Headingley buzzing again as late burst rocks New Zealand
The tourists will resume on Sunday 137 runs ahead with five wickets down.
Jamie Overton falls just short of debut century for England in tight third Test
Overton was caught behind for 97 in the morning session.