DURBAN (South Africa), Dec 20: Fast bowler Tim Southee has been ruled out of New Zealand's tour of South Africa due to a thumb injury which is expected to keep him off the field for up to two months, the country's cricket board said on Thursday.

Southee, who was the most impressive bowler for New Zealand during their drawn Test series in Sri Lanka, suffered the injury while diving in the field during a domestic match.

“Tim Southee has unfortunately been ruled out of the Test series against South Africa,” a New Zealand Cricket (NZC) statement quoted physiotherapist Paul Close as saying ahead of Friday's opening Twenty20 International here at the Kingsmead.

“He landed heavily on his thumb while fielding, with scans indicating the ligament has fully ruptured and retracted. —Reuters

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