Watling advised three weeks' rest for sprained knee

BJ Watling will target a return in next month's Plunket Shield fixture in Whangarei AFP

New Zealand wicketkeeper BJ Watling has been ruled out for three weeks due to a sprained right knee. Watling, who is not a part of the ODI squad for the upcoming Chappell-Hadlee Trophy against Australia, is expected to be available for the home Tests against South Africa, which begin from March 8.

Watling will target a return in the Plunket Shield match between Northern Districts and Otago in Whangarei from February 25. New Zealand Cricket said his injury has been monitored by the team's medical staff for an extended period and needs rest and rehabilitation to allow for recovery.

Watling is New Zealand's first-choice Test wicketkeeper and has played only 32 limited-overs internationals compared to 49 Tests. He was picked in the ODI series against India and Australia late last year, but struggled with the bat in both series: he scored 14 runs in two matches in India, and 31 runs in three matches of the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy in December.

In Tests, Watling has scored 2565 runs at 38.28 and has 157 dismissals behind the stumps, the fourth-highest by a New Zealand wicketkeeper. In the recent Test series against Bangladesh, Watling and Tim Southee set the record for New Zealand's best wicketkeeper-bowler partnership, surpassing Richard Hadlee and Ian Smith.