Pakistan in New Zealand 2015-16 January 20, 2016

McCullum could make Auckland comeback

ESPNcricinfo staff

Brendon McCullum has been out of action since December 28 © Getty Images

New Zealand hope to have their captain Brendon McCullum back from the third ODI against Pakistan on January 31, and their fast bowler Tim Southee for the home Tests against Australia in February.

McCullum has been out of action since aggravating his back injury during the second ODI against Sri Lanka on December 28, while Southee suffered a foot injury during the third ODI against Sri Lanka on New Year's Eve. New Zealand coach Mike Hesson said Southee would not make it back for the remainder of the home series against Pakistan and the limited-overs games against Australia.

"Tim is progressing nicely and he'll be with us this week [in Wellington] to help work with his rehab," Hesson said. "He's unlikely [to play the Australia ODIs]. We'll focus on the Test series at this stage and make sure that he's firing. We certainly won't force him playing any games earlier than that unless we need him. He could well play a Plunket Shield game to get him ready for the Tests."

McCullum is set to return for the final game of Pakistan's tour of New Zealand before he begins his last assignment in international cricket. New Zealand's first Test against Australia will be McCullum's 100th, and he is set to retire after the second Test in Christchurch.

"He's progressing really well and doing plenty of work away from the game, from a fitness point of view and we're really pleased with the way he's tracking," Hesson said. "Hopefully he'll play a part in the Pakistan series and if he does that will be good prep for the Chappell-Hadlee and beyond."

Another fitness concern for New Zealand was Corey Anderson, who has just resumed bowling - one over in the first T20I against Pakistan and four in the second - after playing as a batsman in two matches against Sri Lanka, and for Northern Districts before that. Anderson had suffered a stress fracture of the back during the Lord's Test in May 2015.

"I'm delighted how he's coming along and he's certainly confident with the body," Hesson said. We've gone pretty slow with it to make sure that we give him the best chance of being back for a long period. I'm really pleased to give him a chance with the new ball and even happier that he took it.

"We'll just keep managing it. It [Test cricket] is not something we're going to push. We've got some pretty clear loads in place to give him a chance of being on the park a lot longer. We've got some one-day cricket coming up and we're hopeful he'll be in a position to be able to play a decent role in those."

New Zealand play the final T20I against Pakistan in Wellington on January 22. The series is level 1-1.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • saleh mohammad on January 23, 2016, 14:39 GMT

    Not ODI final T20i .Pakistan not played any ODI yet.

  • Steve on January 21, 2016, 13:42 GMT

    I think NZ are doing well without McCullum who is on the verge of retirement anyway. Unless NZ management feels they owe McCullum a farewell match, I wouldn't bring him back into the short format mix.

  • Muhammad Fahim on January 21, 2016, 7:33 GMT

    Apart all the discussion, the team set up and everything else, I would love to see a balanced pitch, supporting talented bowlers and talented batsmen. I believe its a crime to continually manufacture bating pitches and destroy the youth while throwing 456gms ball...

  • Gary on January 21, 2016, 6:55 GMT

    @ aussiensw - as a kiwi fan I agree - weve drawn test series away against England, beaten India at home, but need to kick off with beating Oz at home and hold our ground in India (whenever we get the chance next) to really start earning a place...

  • Ant on January 21, 2016, 6:27 GMT

    Southee can be a test specialist

  • Beau on January 21, 2016, 2:50 GMT

    Here's the incumbent test side:

    Latham, guptill, kw, Ross, baz, Santner, bj, southee, bracewell, Wagner, boult.

    I'd say only Matt Henry is really pushing hard to break into this side, but he's going to have to wait for an injury or loss of form. or they could just drop Wagner again. They seem to love dropping Wagner.

  • Ryan on January 20, 2016, 23:56 GMT

    @CoolJack_143 - if NZ has a good 2016 you will see their rankings shoot up next year, as once 2017 starts their embarrassing whitewash in RSA 2013 will be wiped from the slate.

  • Beau on January 20, 2016, 23:45 GMT

    Makes for some interesting selection questions, this. If southee is fit for the tests, can they find room for Henry? His white ball form is hard to ignore, but his start in tests has not been encouraging. Anderson is a walk-up for ODIs, but who gets dropped to make way? With baz returning, that's two batsmen out. Munro seems to be in great form, so that leaves... Latham and Elliott? Santner out for Sodhi? Hmm..

  • Mark on January 20, 2016, 21:50 GMT

    @kiwicricketnut, totally agree. In particular Matt Henry is bowling with good pace, bounce and swing, and most importantly is taking wickets. He is a ready made replacement for Southee if necessary, and arguably should be in the test team anyway. Most concerning for me is Boult's pace, while he seems to have picked up some form since the Aussie tour, Boult swinging the ball at 140 is far more dangerous than 130.

  • Ashutosh on January 20, 2016, 19:57 GMT

    i still belive that kiwis shld call jesse rydr back... he has avg of 47 in FC n also destructive player in shorter formats

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