New Zealand announced a 15-member squad for their upcoming three-test series against England, which includes pacer Trent Boult and batter Henry Nicholls. However, they said on Monday that the inclusion of these two players for the first match at Lord’s was doubtful.
Nicholls is recovering from an injury on his right calf, and hence Michael Bracewell has been retained as the 16th man in the squad as a cover for the 30-year-old left-hander.
Nicholls has returned to training in the nets, but the Lord’s Test could come too soon for the experienced middle-order batter.
“At the moment, we think it’s unlikely that Henry will play. Obviously, with the Covid, that just put him back a week or so from where we were wanting but he is progressing really well. I think he’s an unlikely starter so we will hold Michael Bracewell here as extra cover within the squad,” Kiwi coach Gary Stead was quoted by ESPNCricinfo.
Trent Boult on the other hand is expected to arrive in London on Monday, after playing the IPL 2022 final for the Rajasthan Royals in Ahmedabad, one day before. New Zealand has been prepared for Boult not being available, due to Rajasthan’s success during the knockout stages of the IPL, and have various options for how to constitute their attack.
“Trent arrives in later today and we’ll see how he scrubs up but we’ve had conversations leading up to this. It’s part of the world and the way it is right now and I guess with the complexity of putting schedules together and then you have the IPL on top of that, it just adds another layer to it all,” Stead added.
The likes of Blair Tickner, Jacob Duffy, Hamish Rutherford, and Rachin Ravindra were trimmed from the initial squad consisting of 20 members.
New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson, who left the IPL early and got back home for the birth of his second child, has already joined the team.
New Zealand squad for England Test series:
Kane Williamson (captain), Tom Blundell (wicketkeeper), Trent Boult, Devon Conway, Colin de Grandhomme, Cam Fletcher (wicketkeeper), Matt Henry, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Henry Nicholls, Ajaz Patel, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Will Young, Michael Bracewell