New Zealand pace bowler Tim Southee’s availability for the upcoming cricket World Cup will be decided next week after he opted to undergo surgery for a dislocated and fractured thumb.
Southee injured his right thumb while trying to take a catch at slip offered by Joe Root in the final one-day international match against England on Saturday at Lord’s.
With the team sweating on a number of injuries, New Zealand coach Gary Stead is hopeful Southee can recover in time, with the team set to begin their ODI World Cup campaign against England on October 5 at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, India.
“We’ve got our fingers crossed that the surgery goes well for Tim,” Stead said in a team statement on Wednesday.
“He’ll have some pins or screws inserted in his right thumb and, providing the procedure is a success, it will be a matter of ensuring Tim can tolerate the pain and manage the actual wound when returning to train and play.
“Our opening game of the World Cup against England is not until Thursday, October 5 in Ahmedabad, so that would be our logical target in terms of his availability.
“Tim’s obviously a hugely experienced and important figure in our team and we want to give him every chance to be part of this World Cup campaign.”
Southee, who will undergo surgery on Thursday, is one of four specialist pace bowlers named in New Zealand’s squad alongside Trent Boult, Matt Henry and Lockie Ferguson. The 34-year-old is the Black Caps’ third-highest wicket-taker in ODIs with 214 wickets.
New Zealand are dealing with a number of injury issues, with Daryl Mitchell also suffering a minor finger injury. Mitchell walked off the field in the same match as Southee though the injury is expected to be of no impact on the all-rounder.
There are also questions over captain Kane Williamson’s fitness as he returns to the squad after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his right knee.
In the build-up to the World Cup, New Zealand are currently in Bangladesh for a three-match ODI series, beginning on Thursday in Mirpur.
They will then play two tournament warm-up matches, starting with Pakistan in Hyderabad on September 29, followed by a match against South Africa in Trivandrum on Monday October 2.
The New Zealand-based World Cup players not on the current tour of Bangladesh will depart to India from next Tuesday, the New Zealand cricket board has said.
New Zealand are twice runners-up at the World Cup, having reached the final in 2019 and 2015.