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Cricket News

Cricket-NZ facing injury concerns ahead of Windies series

WELLINGTON, Nov 4 (Reuters) - New Zealand cricket coach Gary Stead will be anxiously awaiting the outcome of medical checks over the next week with six of his players nursing injuries as they prepare to face West Indies later this month.

Stead’s side face the tourists, who are in isolation in a bio-secure facility in Christchurch for the next 10 days, in three Twenty20 internationals starting on Nov. 27 before a two-test series begins on Dec. 3.

Stead’s biggest concern is with his bowling unit.

Pace spearhead Tim Southee (back), fellow pace bowlers Neil Wagner (groin/hip) and Matt Henry (broken thumb), and first-choice test spinner Ajaz Patel (calf) are all under a cloud.

All-rounder Colin de Grandhomme has foot injury while middle-order batsman Henry Nicholls has a calf strain.

“Injuries are always a concern and we’re certainly monitoring each case closely with our medical staff,” Stead said in a statement on Wednesday.

Southee’s injury is not considered too serious and he was rested from Northern Districts’ first-class match against Canterbury starting on Thursday as a precaution.

He is likely to be available for the match against Central Districts next week but team mate Wagner has to undergo a scan.

De Grandhomme also has to undergo a scan, with the results expected by Thursday.

Patel’s recovery is taking longer than expected and he needs to have another scan, Stead said.

Nicholls is expected to be available for Canterbury’s clash with Otago next week, although team mate Henry is out for between four to six weeks, making him unlikely for the Twenty20 series and a doubt for the tests.

Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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