England vs New Zealand: Kane Williamson doubtful for second Test, Trent Boult set to return
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson is doubtful for the second Test against England, which is due to begin on Thursday at Edgbaston
Williamson has a niggle in his elbow and the BlackCaps will take a call on his participation on Wednesday, New Zealand head coach Gary Stead has said.
Meanwhile, New Zealand's all-rounder Mitchell Santner has been ruled out of the second Test in Birmingham, having cut his left index finger. He had suffered the injury ahead of the two-match Test series against England while playing an intra-squad game but was available for the opening Test at Lord's, where he went on to bowl 23 overs and batted only six balls. Ajaz Patel is the only other spinner in the Kiwi squad.
"His elbow is still niggling him a wee bit," NZ coach Gary Stead was quoted by cricket.com.au, as saying before adding a decision on Williamson will be made on match eve.
"We've had some more treatment on that and we just want to make sure it's the best thing for him, playing in this match versus taking a bit more time to be ready and training the way he needs to train," Stead added.
New Zealand fast bowler Trent Boult, who missed the first Test in London, is "likely" to make his return for the second game after the UK government relaxed the quarantine rules, allowing the left-arm pacer to return to training earlier than expected.
Apart from Boult, New Zealand have Matt Henry, Doug Bracewell, and Jacob Duffy in the squad alongside the three pacers who played the first game – Tim Southee, Neil Wagner and Kyle Jamieson, who all bowled more than 40 overs at Lord's.
"They have all scrubbed up pretty well, but it doesn't necessarily mean they will play in the next match. With an eye to the (WTC) final, we want to make sure the key bowlers who we think will take part in that game are fresh, raring to go and ready for that first ball of the match versus India.
We've got a squad of 20 obviously. So, a lot of guys have played Test cricket before. Matt Henry is here, Daryl Mitchell is here, Doug Bracewell, Ajaz Patel…there're guys in and around the squad who've played for us in the past. So, again, we're having those discussions with them about what's best for them given training loads, playing loads and readiness for that match," added Stead in the same interview.
"Trent's back and available to be selected and it's likely we'll play him in this game as well. It's good news for us. Things did change when he got here or from the information, we had initially. So, think it's the best thing for Trent to get out there, get the Dukes ball in his hand and show us what he's capable of," Stead further added.
After the England series, the New Zealand side will gear up for the inaugural World Test Championship (WTC) final, starting June 18 in Southampton. The Kiwis will take on World No. 1 India in the summit clash as both captains Williamson and Virat Kohli are chasing their first trophy as the captain of their respective countries.