Before the last match of the two-match Test series being played against England, New Zealand’s team has suffered another setback as wicket-keeper batsman BJ Watling was ruled out with a back injury. Prior to him, Captain Kane Williamson and spinner Mitchell Santner have been ruled out due to injuries. Tom Blundell will play in place of Watling in this match.
The England series was being considered as a good opportunity for the team before the World Test Championship against India. But players’ injuries have raised concern for the team management. On Wednesday, a day before the match, the biggest setback for the team came in the form of Captain Williamson. Earlier, spinner Santner also had to be ruled out of the Birmingham Test due to injury.
Will Young to replace Williamson in playing XI:
In his absence, the team’s regular vice-captain Tom Latham will lead the side for the third time, while Will Young will replace Kane Williamson in the playing XI. Meanwhile, New Zealand’s head coach Gary Stead said, “It’s not an easy decision for Kane to have to miss a Test. But we think it’s the right one. He’s had an injection in his elbow to relieve the irritation he’s been experiencing when he bats and a period of rest and rehabilitation will help maximise his recovery. The decision has been made very much with the ICC World Test Championship final at Southampton in mind. We are confident he will be ready for that match starting on June 18.
Praising Will Young, Latham said, “He’s been here a few weeks earlier [than the rest of the squad] and was playing cricket. He had an opportunity back in our home summer and is coming off runs for Durham. Especially in these conditions, so it’s another exciting opportunity for Will to put his hand up and try to put that performance on the board.”
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