Kane Williamson, the New Zealand captain, is backing himself to recover from an "ongoing niggle" and lead his team out against the visiting England side in the first Test on 21 November.
Williamson was forced to miss the five Twenty20 Internationals between the sides with a hip complaint.
"It's been an ongoing niggle, really," he told Sky Sports NZ on Friday, 8 November, on the sidelines of New Zealand's defeat in the fourth T20I at Napier. "That comes at goes. It is settling, which is nice."
Records tumbled as England stole the show in Napier with a series-levelling victory over New Zealand in the fourth T20I.— ICC (@ICC) November 8, 2019
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Since the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019 final, when his team lost out to England in a final for the ages, Williamson has played just four matches, batting four times for a high score of 26. He last turned out for his country in August, in the Tests against Sri Lanka. And while he admitted that more game-time ahead of the Test series would be ideal for him, he still believed he could slip back into the rhythm.
"A lot of [the last few months] has been rehab to get the hip right," he explained. "I had a four-dayer recently [for Northern Districts, against Canterbury], and there's a gap between this series and the first Test, so it's basically training going into it.
"A lot of it is mindset," he went on, "so trying to get that right, trying to prepare as well as well as you can to give yourself the best chance.
"I guess if you're looking at preparation and perfect preparation, game-time can be nice, spending time in the middle, but it'll be tough to come by seeing as there's not a lot of cricket between now and then. So it's just trying to get the mindset right to go on and execute your plans as well as you can."
England play warm-up matches against New Zealand XI on 12-13 and 15-17 November before the two-Test series.
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