Injury forces New Zealand to re-shuffle squad for second Australia Test

The inaugural ICC World Test Championship winners will be forced to make at least one change to their XI for the second Test in Christchurch.

New Zealand will be forced to reshuffle their XI for the second Test against Australia, following news that two players will miss the clash due to injury.

Inexperienced fast bowler Will O'Rourke hurt his hamstring while bowling on the third day of the opening Test that Australia won by 172 runs in Wellington and has been ruled out of the second Test in Christchurch, while key batter Devon Conway will once again miss out due to his injured thumb.

New Zealand have resisted the urge to hand a shock recall to recently-retired quick Neil Wagner and have instead called up uncapped pacer Ben Sears for the second and final Test against the Aussies, while batter Henry Nicholls will remain in the 13-player squad with Conway sidelined.

While Sears is yet to make his Test debut for New Zealand, coach Gary Stead believes the 26-year-old is more than capable of filling the void should the right-armer win selection.

“Ben’s a young bowler with a quality skill set,” Stead said.

“He bowls with genuine pace and gets good bounce which is always a great asset in red ball cricket.

“We’ve been really impressed by his performances for the Black Caps in white ball cricket this summer and believe he can make the step up to the Test arena if called upon. 

“It’s disappointing for Will to be ruled out, especially after making such a strong start to his international career.

“He’s shown he’s a player with huge potential and at 22-years-old we’re hopeful we will see a lot more of him in the Black Cap.”

Rachin Ravindra - ICC Men's Emerging Cricketer of the Year | ICC Awards 2023

Conway, meanwhile, will be sidelined for eight weeks after specialists decided the batter should undergo surgery on the thumb he hurt during the T20I series against Australia.

“We’re all feeling for Devon,” Stead said.

“He’s a massive part of the Black Caps and we’re going to miss his presence both on and off the field.

“We wish him all the best for his surgery and we will be there to support him as he begins his recovery.”

The day New Zealand became the WTC21 Champions

Test squad: Tim Southee (c), Tom Blundell (wk), Matt Henry, Scott Kuggeleijn, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Henry Nicholls, Glenn Phillips, Rachin Ravindra, Mitchell Santner, Ben Sears, Kane Williamson, Will Young

Series Schedule

First Test – 29 February-4 March – Cello Basin Reserve, Wellington (Australia won by 172 runs)
Second Test – 8-12 March – Hagley Oval, Christchurch

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