MOUNT MAUNGANUI: New Zealand coach Gary Stead is confident of having a fully fit squad when the team departs for the Caribbean for next month’s T20 World Cup with Finn Allen and Devon Conway making good progress in their recovery from injuries.

Explosive opener Allen missed last month’s T20 series in Pakistan with a back injury, while batsman Conway had surgery on a thumb fracture sustained in February and has been unable to play any part in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) season.

“Finn Allen’s in the nets here behind us at the moment so he’s tracking along nicely,” Stead told reporters at the team’s training camp at Mount Maunganui on Thursday.

“He’s still got a little bit of pain in his back but our plan this week is to progress them up and put more intensity through his training each day.

“Devon’s over at the IPL still and he is tracking nicely. He’s been wicket-keeping and batting in the nets on a regular basis.

“He’s back home at the end of the week. We’ll have a look at him early next week and make sure that that he’s good to go as well.”

New Zealand have lined up no warm-up matches before their World Cup Group ‘C’ opener against Afghanistan in Georgetown, Guyana on June 7.

Stead said the squad has been training on three different surfaces at the Bay Oval to prepare for the varying conditions they will encounter in the Caribbean and he thought most of the squad had been playing enough cricket.

“There’s a number of guys who’ve been in the IPL for the last two months and we’ve also recently come off the tour to Pakistan,” he added.

“There’s a lot of experience in the group, who have played in the Caribbean Premier League before, so we’ll be leaning on those guys and making sure the training we get in prior to the first game gets us to where we want to be.”

Published in Dawn, May 17th, 2024

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