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BJ Watling

Watling in doubt for Hamilton Test, Conway called up as cover

New Zealand news

New Zealand wicket-keeper batsman BJ Watling is in doubt for the first Test against West Indies at Seddon Park after suffering a hamstring niggle.

Watling could miss the opening Test against West Indies starting on Thursday, 3 December, after New Zealand head coach Gary Stead confirmed that the wicket-keeper picked up a “hamstring niggle” in the opening round of their domestic List A tournament.

New Zealand have called up Devon Conway as cover for Watling, although his debut itself is in doubt after a spectacular showing from Will Young in the tour game for New Zealand A. Conway topped the run charts in the 2019 Plunket Shield season with 701 runs including a spectacular 327*. 

He is also the top run-scorer in the ongoing Plunket Shield season with 410 runs at an average of 58.57. Conway’s impressive numbers in domestic cricket and a decent debut series in the T20Is against West Indies has earned him a call-up to the Test side. He will now compete with Young for a place in the XI if Watling is ruled out.

Stead said that the Blackcaps would make a call on Watling’s readiness on the eve of the game, but it is likely that he will miss the Test. If so, the head coach confirmed that Tom Blundell would slot in at No.6 and keep the wickets.

This will leave an opening spot empty and one of Conway or Young could slot in there. Young, who was named in the initial squad, is favourite to open alongside Tom Latham, according to Stead.

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