Allrounder given until next week to prove fitness September 28, 2006

Styris still in doubt for Champions Trophy

Cricinfo staff

Scott Styris has been a key member of the ODI side © Getty Images

Scott Styris, the allrounder, is struggling to make New Zealand's squad for the Champions Trophy in India next month. According to Lindsay Crocker, the side's manager, Styris would be given until next week to prove his fitness ahead of the premier multi-team tournament ahead of the World Cup.

Styris was forced to return home early from his stint with English county side Middlesex with a back complaint, but has been able to join the national team in camp in Lincoln this week.

"We now start him on a loading problem and see how he reacts," Crocker told the New Zealand Herald. "Realistically we'll have to make a call midway through next week."

Styris will now face a series of tests at New Zealand Cricket's High Performance Centre at Lincoln, near Christchurch. Styris is the veteran of 116 one-day internationals with a batting and bowling average of 28.73 and 31.74 respectively.

New Zealand's preparation for the Champions Trophy has been limited. Their last one-day international was back on March 4, and only a handful of their players have been involved in the English country season. New Zealand's first game is against South Africa in Mumbai on October 15.

Crocker, meanwhile, has also expressed concerns over the readiness of the pitches at some of the grounds to be used for next year's World Cup. Of the 12 venues checked off for the tournament, Trinidad's Brian Lara Academy Ground was been dropped because of a lack of progress, and more than half will be untested surfaces.

"Most of them will be brand new; a few will have some sort of play on them before the tournament, but it's definitely going to be a journey into the unknown for all teams, including the hosts," Crocker said. "Merely upgrading the outfields so that they're sand-based and able to drain well is likely to make some sort of difference to the pitches, given they'll potentially be a shade drier and might need slightly different treatment. We have scouted the venues but because they're all being reconstructed there's not much to assess in terms of pitches or grounds."