NZ stay positive over Taylor, Oram
New Zealand are expecting good news over two of their injury worries - Ross Taylor and Jacob Oram. Taylor suffered a hamstring injury during the Chappell-Hadlee Series in Australia while a spate of injuries in the recent past have kept Oram out.
Both players have been picked in the Twenty20 squad to play India and are feeling good, but Oram is not likely to bowl before the ODI series and Taylor will undergo a final fitness test before the first Twenty20 international on Wednesday.
Oram returned home mid-way through the tour of Bangladesh in October and missed the Test series in Australia because of a back injury. A calf strain kept him out of the home Test series against West Indies and an Achilles injury cut short his participation in the one-day series that followed. The team does not want to risk another injury by bowling him right away but feel he adds enough value as a batsman alone.
New Zealand coach Andy Moles was confident that Oram would be bowling very soon. "Oram is one of the top allrounders in the world, especially in the shorter forms of the game. He is one of those explosive players who can win games of cricket. Any New Zealand team with Jacob Oram in the team has the capacity to win games not only when you are playing well, but also when you are behind in the game, you can catch the game up with his immense hitting.
"We are hoping that come the ODIs, he will be bowling. He is bowling in the nets and looks good for the moment, but we are very very wary of pushing him too early. We want him to be the allrounder for the foreseeable future, not just for one or two games."
Taylor, on the other hand, was hopeful after his sprinting exercises on Saturday. "[I suffered] the whole time that I was in Australia," Taylor said. "I think it was related to my back. I injured two groins, then my right hamstring and then my left hamstring in the last game.
"The hamstring is coming along okay at this stage. I sprinted for the first time at 95% on Saturday but probably will have a final fitness to get a green signal for Wednesday."
Sidharth Monga is a staff writer at Cricinfo