ZB

Black Caps star ruled out for 10-12 weeks

Author
Andrew Alderson,
Publish Date
Tue, 7 Jun 2022, 12:32pm
New Zealand's Colin de Grandhomme leaves the pitch at Lord's. Photo / AP
New Zealand's Colin de Grandhomme leaves the pitch at Lord's. Photo / AP

Black Caps star ruled out for 10-12 weeks

Author
Andrew Alderson,
Publish Date
Tue, 7 Jun 2022, 12:32pm

By Andrew Alderson in London

There is a yes-no-wait scenario on the selection front for the New Zealand test cricket team ahead of the second match starting Friday night at Nottingham.

Colin de Grandhomme is out for up to 12 weeks with a right heel tear, Michael Bracewell stays with the side as a result, and Henry Nicholls is expected to resume at number five after recovering from his calf injury.

"Unfortunately Colin has been ruled out after fighting his way back into our line-up after having that other ankle injury," coach Gary Stead told the Herald.

"It's gutting for him because we know his capabilities. He's been a great all-rounder for us over quite a period."

Stead also reflected on the brighter news for Nicholls.

"He's progressed well, so we're comfortable he's likely to fit back in for the test."

That means Lord's century-maker Daryl Mitchell should drop to six in the order with Tom Blundell moving to seven.

Stead wants the same top four to take guard at Trent Bridge.

As he acknowledged, the quartet struggled at 12 for four and 56 for four in the respective innings of the opening five-wicket loss.

"50 runs off eight innings from them is not ideal… and not something we're probably used to.

"We just got caught out on a pitch that was doing a lot more with the new ball than what we anticipated. I certainly don't see a need for panic."

Stead has ruled out Will Young switching to number four and Devon Conway moving up to open as a possible tweak.

That leaves a debate about whether to juggle the pace battery or persevere with Ajaz Patel. The brief nature of both first innings – 132 versus 141 - and a lack of pitch deterioration across three days worked against the left-arm orthodox spinner. He bowled two overs for 22 runs, whacked out of the attack by Ben Stokes.

Neil Wagner and Matt Henry were jettisoned to make way for Patel and the fast-tracked return of Trent Boult after the Indian Premier League final.

Getting the right balance remains the priority for Stead who says fans need to realise he and captain Kane Williamson mulled over the merits of the situation at length.

"I can assure you there were some long chats when you're talking about leaving out the calibre of Henry and Wagner.

"They're good discussions to have, but it does create some internal problems sorting those things out.

"Ajaz was bowling well in the two warm-up games. It was more the conditions and the nip of the ball [at Lord's] that Kane obviously felt offered the best option."

Stead also said they will be addressing the masterful batting of Joe Root who scored his 26th test century and first in a fourth innings to help England win.

"One of the things we talked about before we left the ground was getting clearer plans on bowling to him.

"He was the difference in the game because of his composure and ability to manipulate the ball around on what wasn't an easy wicket to start."