New Zealand news February 13, 2013

Southee set to return after thumb injury

ESPNcricinfo staff

New Zealand fast bowler Tim Southee is set to return to competitive cricket on Thursday, for Northern Districts against Wellington in the Plunket Shield, following a thumb injury that kept him out for two months. While Southee admitted to his finger still being a "bit stiff", he is hoping to be at his best and back in the national team before the end of New Zealand's home series against England.

"It's all looking promising. I spoke to the surgeon last week and he's pretty confident, [the thumb has] recovered more quickly than he expected," Southee was quoted as saying by Fairfax NZ News. "It's not at full range yet, it's still a bit stiff in some movements. It may still take another month or so for it to get back to being free like it was beforehand. But it feels reasonably strong, so unless I get a ball on the thumb I'm pretty sure it's going to get through."

Southee last played for New Zealand in November, during the tour to Sri Lanka. He then missed the Twenty20s against South Africa in early December, having stayed in New Zealand for the birth of his first child. He was supposed to join the squad for the Test series, but picked up the injury while playing in the Plunket Shield.

The injury, he said, was a serious one: "I'm excited to get back out there. It's probably the longest layoff I've had.

"There wasn't a break but I ripped the ligaments clean off the bone. It was in a full cast for two and a bit weeks, then a splint for a while after that. Four or five weeks after surgery I was back into a bit of bowling, and I was also able to do some running and gym work."

New Zealand's ODIs against England begin on February 17, while the Tests start on March 6. Southee said he would be in touch with the New Zealand management to plot his comeback: "I'll play this game and keep in touch with the New Zealand medical staff and Brendon [McCullum, the captain] and Mike [Hesson, the coach] as well. I guess it's up to them what they want to do, whether [I'll] be involved in the one-day series or just get myself right for the Test series."

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  • Brendan on February 15, 2013, 5:57 GMT

    Great to see him back and he would be an excellent inclusion if he was to play. Him, Boult and Bracewell could do some damage together, I hope Vettori is back very soon also

  • Alan on February 14, 2013, 3:59 GMT

    @ nzcricket174 - I hope he can show his all-round ability too. He and Bracewell clearly have some ability with the bat, but neither seem to have shown it very often at test level. I get the feeling they lack the application needed to succeed, preferring to go out swinging than knuckle down. Hopefully as they mature they will realise the value of their batting ability and can develop into genuine all-rounders. Fingers crossed.

  • Angus on February 14, 2013, 2:20 GMT

    Really really excited about the Southee / Boult opening partnership in tests. They have the potential to rip batting lineups apart. Fingers crossed injuries wont re-occur for a long long time.

  • Simon on February 13, 2013, 13:22 GMT

    It'll be great for England if Southee is back. Let's face it, the Kiwi series are a warm up for the Ashes and facing an attack led by Southee and Boult will be excellent practice at facing bowlers who swing the ball at pace.

  • Ryan on February 13, 2013, 11:25 GMT

    One thing which seems to be overlooked is the fact that in the match he was injured, he scored 156 along with the seven wickets he took. I hope he shows his all-round capabilities if he plays in the Test matches.

  • jared on February 13, 2013, 8:57 GMT

    can't wait for southee to return and dine out on the poms, closest we've got to a philander type bowler who moves it both ways, thought we might lose him with very average performances for years but lately he has worked out his game and is standing up very good batsmen, him and boult bowl well together and will a great contest with cook and co, can't wait

  • Jordan on February 13, 2013, 8:48 GMT

    excellent to see! hopefully hes able to continue his sublime form straight back from injury.

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