AUCKLAND: New Zealand captain Kane Williamson will miss the two-match Test series against South Africa later this month after failing to recover in time from a long-standing elbow injury, the country’s cricket board (NZC) said on Monday.

All-rounder Colin de Grandhomme and opener Hamish Rutherford have been recalled for the first game while wicketkeeper Cam Fletcher and fast bowler Blair Tickner were given maiden call-ups to the Test side, which will be led by Tom Latham.

The first Test starts at Christchurch’s Hagley Oval on Feb. 17.

“[Kane] was desperate to be fit for the series but with the amount of loading required for Test cricket, we had to make the tough call... and focus on returning for the white-ball matches against Netherlands in March,” said Kiwi head coach Gary Stead.

The 31-year-old Williamson also sat out the two-Test home series against Bangladesh last month due to the niggling elbow issue.

Seamer Trent Boult will also be unavailable as he awaits the birth of his third child, while left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel could potentially be in the fray for the second test.

“It’s important to remember this squad is just for the first Test so we do have flexibility to make changes as required, with the likes of Trent and Ajaz potentially available for the second,” added Stead.

Squad for the first Test: Tom Latham (captain), Tom Blundell, Devon Conway, Colin de Grandhomme, Cam Fletcher, Matt Henry, Kyle Jamieson, Daryl Mitchell, Henry Nicholls, Rachin Ravindra, Hamish Rutherford, Tim Southee, Blair Tickner, Neil Wagner, Will Young.

Published in Dawn, February 8th, 2022

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