New Zealand's injury worries continue to worsen as Jimmy Neesham, who was expected to recover from his rib injury ahead of the second Test in Kolkata, has now been ruled out. The Kiwis, who lost the first Test by 197 runs, are already without their pace spearhead Tim Southee and spinner Mark Craig.
“Jimmy Neesham's injury will rule him out of at least this Test. That takes away options in terms of changing our balance a bit. But that's okay. We are not able to get any replacement in time who is a batting allrounder. Unfortunately, we have got a few other injuries at home as well, which makes that really challenging,” coach Mike Hesson said, reported ESPNcricinfo.
Tim Southee was earlier ruled out of the series after an injury during practice, while Neesham picked up the rib injury in training before the first Test and played a very limited role in the warm-up fixture against Mumbai in Delhi. To add to their woes, Mark Craig suffered a side strain while bowling in the second innings of the Kanpur Test and his replacement Jeetan Patel's flight was also canceled. The offspinner will now arrive only after midnight on Wednesday, which will give him only 24 hours to acclimatize himself before the 2nd Test.
With talks about dropping the out-of-form Martin Guptill heating up, New Zealand are now left with Henry Nicholls as their only option to replace him.
"We are restricted in some of our options. We have got Henry Nicholls in our group. Once again he has never played in India but played really nicely in South Africa in conditions that once again are distinctly different. He is a smart lad. He spent the last week trying to keep evolving his game plan. He is an option for us. And we will look at the conditions first before making a call," Hesson said.