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December 17, 2013
James Neesham, the uncapped Otago allrounder, has been brought into New Zealand's squad for the third Test against West Indies as cover for Corey Anderson who has picked up a problem with his right shin although he is expected to be fit to take his place in the line-up on Thursday.
During Anderson's career he has had to deal with a number of injuries, the most recent being with a rib which he picked up in Sri Lanka but he is confident that the latest twinge is nothing to be concerned about.
"It's more just a precaution, doing the right things," he said. "With an early finish to that second Test it made it easier. It's been niggling away over the past week or so. It will be nice to get the results back this afternoon to see what it is but I'm still confident."
Anderson's own experiences help him to judge when a problem is worth serious concern. "I'm starting to learn about my body and know when something is bad. I've had plenty of them before and they aren't nice but this doesn't feel like one of those."
It has been an encouraging series for Anderson following on from his debut in Bangladesh where he scored a hundred in his second Test. After a first-innings failure in Dunedin he helped calm the run chase, albeit the rain had the final say, and in Wellington he struck a confident 38 to ensure West Indies could not hurry through New Zealand's middle order.
The latest injury bulletin on Anderson - even if it proves minor - supports what Mike Hesson, the New Zealand coach, spoke about after the second Test when he said he did not foresee Anderson becoming a frontline seamer in the five-day game because they don't want to push his body too hard.
His performance in Wellington - a solid contribution in the middle order, three wickets from 17 overs and a safe pair of hands - is the template Hesson will want him to follow, providing the much sought-after balance of a fifth bowler but also a batsman capable of playing in the top six.
"I still think my job is to get runs," Anderson said. "I'm a batting allrounder and if I can chip in with the ball then that's a bonus. At the moment I've had a couple of starts with the bat but it would be nice to kick on."
So far in the first innings of this series Anderson has walked in at 380 for 4 and 189 for 4, so hardly positions of crisis for New Zealand, and while he is more than content to watch the top order go about their work efficiently he is confident that, as he hinted in the Dunedin chase, he has the capacity to bail his side out of trouble.
"Someone would have had to fail if that's the case which you never like, but if I have to be put in that position I'm more than happy for the challenge. I'd go out there with the same mindset."
Understandably there is plenty of confidence from the New Zealand players after the manner of the victory in Wellington and the belief they would have been 2-0 up already without the rain. However, series wins have been a rare breed and they know this is a chance they can't afford to let slip.
"The win at the Basin was nice, but we want to do more than that - not just get excited at wins every now and again," Anderson said.
It was a view echoed by BJ Watling. "Cricket can bring you back down to earth pretty quickly. We've got ourselves into winning positions twice so won't be changing too much."
Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Andrew McGlashan
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