New Zealand v West Indies, 1st Test, Dunedin December 2, 2013

Williamson ruled out of first Test


Kane Williamson has been ruled out of the opening Test against West Indies, in Dunedin, meaning a recall for Aaron Redmond after a gap of five years.

There had been positive vibes that Williamson would have recovered sufficiently from the broken thumb he sustained in Bangladesh - Bruce Edgar, the national selector, said he was at 95% last week - but it has been decided that it is not a risk worth taking at the start of a long home season.

Williamson batted in the nets without too much discomfort on Sunday, but following a fielding stint, his thumb began to stiffen up.

"It was pretty close, it was a tough decision, but in the end it was just a touch too early for Kane," Brendon McCullum said. "But Aaron has been in such good form and knows these conditions well. We thought he'd be the better option in this Test rather than force Kane back

"He batted yesterday in the nets and didn't feel a great deal of discomfort , but with then doing some fielding then going back into the nets it stiffened up. He probably could have played, but in the grand scheme of the season we have in front of us and how valuable he is to us we saw it as a safer option by allowing him to miss this one and give him another week to recover."

It means that Redmond will add to his seven Test caps, the previous of which came against Australia at Adelaide in 2008. He was the leading Plunket Shield run-scorer last season with 941 runs at 55.35, and was touted as an option for New Zealand when Peter Fulton was recalled to face England. This season he has begun in similarly healthy manner with 271 runs at 67.75 from two matches which again puts him top of the list.

"It's a nice story," McCullum said. "I thought he did a pretty good job for us when he last played and was probably a bit unlucky to have been axed back then. He had a tough year a few years ago when he was captain of Otago and his response since then has been brilliant. It's another one for the older guys in first-class cricket, showing that the door is never shut."

McCullum was also feeling more positive about himself, although conceded his back remained stiff. He admitted to some "dark thoughts" after returning from Bangladesh where the end of his career briefly passed through his mind. While he knows injury may yet curtail his playing days before he would like them to, he is now hungry to resume the challenge of improving New Zealand's Test standing.

"Post Bangladesh its been pretty well reported I took some time to have a think about things," he said. "I know my test performances haven't been up to standard of late. Couple that with the slight injury and you start to have some pretty dark thoughts but when took over this job had some big visions for this team and how I fitted into that.

"That certainly hasn't changed. Just because you go through a few tough times doesn't mean you should change your goals. I'm very determined to lead this team strongly from the front. And that starts with performance."

McCullum is also well aware of the chance presented to his team. Some of the West Indies players are still battling jetlag and there has been scant preparation time for those coming from India.

"It's a great opportunity for us. The placement of the Test match in Dunedin as well - while I'm very fond of Dunedin it's not the most tropical place in the world - and from where they're from they may not be entirely comfortably if we get those southerlies coming in. They are a very good cricket team and experienced in a range of conditions, so we are very respectful of how good they'll be but we do see it as a good opportunity to get us under way in the series and the summer."

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • James on December 3, 2013, 7:16 GMT

    Good news for NZ- it seems that given the average quality of WI bowling, Williamson has not been missed on the first day.

  • Rahul on December 2, 2013, 18:40 GMT

    This shud be an interesting series considering both the teams have struggled recently. Looking forward to this

  • Sanjay on December 2, 2013, 18:36 GMT

    I guess once you get a broken digit, it never really heals 100%. He'll have to tape that up carefully for the rest of his career esp when he's fielding. He'd also be well advised to order a custom pair of batting gloves that gives the ultimate protection to the thumb area.

  • Android on December 2, 2013, 17:59 GMT

    williomson was a key player and number 3 batsman

  • ESPN on December 2, 2013, 16:07 GMT

    You don't have to field a strong team to beat Wes indies , the West Indies women can beat the men please don't worry kiwis

  • o on December 2, 2013, 13:41 GMT

    This is a huge loss for the Kiwis and neutral spectators disappointing I was really looking forward to he and Bravo's batting battle.

  • Dummy4 on December 2, 2013, 13:16 GMT

    I'm sorry Karl... Have you seen Redmonds history for international cricket? Tried, tested and was horrificly bad for a top order batsmen. He wouldn't even make the Bangledeshy team.

    Your comment is like saying Mathew Sinclair should be called back into the test sqaud. Yeah sure Sinclair did amazing at the domestic level in NZ, but he could never do it for NZ outside of two innings. Redmond is aged, and has had his chance. At least Guptill has turned down IPL contracts to work on the red ball game. Putting country first and working on his game. I would prefer to see NZ stick it out and give him some more time. Mc Cullum has been just as bad, yet they have stuck with him through thick and thin.

    I'm sorry but at an average of 23 at international level for Redmond... He is not the answer. Despite 2 years of good form in domestic level... Just a no from me and most people.

  • Dummy4 on December 2, 2013, 11:23 GMT

    I like how Nathan notices Jeet Raval's runs but negates Redmond's consistency over the past two seasons and him scoring alot of runs in the Plunket Shield, not to mention scoring 67 in the warmup match. And no, Guptill has been tried and tested and not up to the mark when it comes to the red ball, opening or in the middle order. Do not equal limited overs form to Test form. Both very different games with tbh, very different balls that behave differently.

  • Dummy4 on December 2, 2013, 10:41 GMT

    Seriously picking Redmond over Guptil who just smashed the English bowlers in England recently? Yeah sure his test background hasn't been amazing compared to his 2020 and odi form, but he is a much stronger pick than Redmond and Devcich.

    Jeet Raval has hit siblime form. Scoring a few 100's at this time of year in NZ conditions isn't exactly easy. Averaging 40 at his young age as an opener too... But yes, go with Redmond, keep digging NZ a bigger grave selectors.


  • Tony on December 2, 2013, 10:03 GMT

    Common sense has prevailed. Good news for Yorkshire.

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