New Zealand national selector, Gavin Larsen expressed his concern about injuries to three key players- Lockie Ferguson, Colinde de Grandhomme, and Ajaz Patel. The three players are injured and not participating in the ongoing Test series against West Indies. They are also likely to be ruled out of the matches against Pakistan starting next week.
Lockie Ferguson picked 7 wickets in the T20I series against West Indies, including a five-wicket haul. However, he was later injured and has a stress fracture in his back. Larsen is absolutely upset about Ferguson missing out from the T20Is against Pakistan as his extra pace brings the X-factor in the bowling action.
The fast bowler was terrific in the IPL for Kolkata Knight Riders and gave the much-needed support to Pat Cummins. Ferguson averages a brilliant 13 in T20Is with the ball at an economy of 6.95.
Larsen told reporters on Saturday, “I’m gutted for Lockie. He has an X-factor with the pace at which he bowls. He has grown his role and is a pivotal member of our bowling lineup in Twenty20 cricket. This is a major setback, but we will keep our fingers crossed that when the prognosis comes through that we’re talking weeks not months.”
Ajaz Patel may be fit just enough in time for the Pakistan series: Gavin Larsen
The left-arm spinner, Ajaz Patel is struggling with a calf strain for a long time. The selector is hoping that Patel may get fit till the Boxing Day Test match against Babar Azam’s side. The 58-year-old pointed out that with the calf strain Patel needs to be careful while fielding.
“Ajaz is tracking well. Bowling is not an issue, but with a calf strain, it’s the explosive work needed while fielding, sharp turning that is more of a concern at this stage.
“We’d like to think he gets through some good work up there then we can chuck him back into consideration for the Boxing Day Test,” Larsen said.
Colin de Grandhomme is batting from a foot injury and has been ruled out of the Pakistan series. He played a couple of first-class games in October but wasn’t at his fittest. Larsen confirmed that the all-rounder will return only when he is completely fit as they wouldn’t want to risk him a long-term injury by rushing him back. The Black Caps have a massive home season as they host West Indies, Pakistan, Australia, and Bangladesh.
“The last thing we want is to put him back on the park and he’s not quite ready and we lose him for the season,” he added.