West Indies v New Zealand, 1st Test, Antigua July 24, 2012

Boult and Watling out of first Test

ESPNcricinfo staff

The fast bowler Trent Boult and the wicketkeeper-batsman BJ Watling have been ruled out of the New Zealand side for the first Test against West Indies, starting in Antigua on Wednesday. Both men are suffering from quad injuries and they did not take part in the tour match against the WICB President's XI, a game in which the New Zealanders narrowly escaped with a draw, leaving 13 players available for selection for the Test.

The left-arm fast bowler Neil Wagner has emerged as a strong candidate to make his Test debut after impressing during the tour match, in which he took 3 for 65 and then played a fighting lower-order innings to held the side avoid defeat. Wagner, 26, was born in South Africa and qualified for New Zealand selection in April, and he could be part of a three-man pace attack alongside Chris Martin and Doug Bracewell.

"He has had to wait his time. He's got a very good first-class record and bowls with a lot of aggression," the captain Ross Taylor said of Wagner. "Neil Wagner has got a big chance to make his Test debut here in Antigua. He's an aggressive left-arm bowler who will be dangerous with the older ball as well, reversing it."

Wagner was one of New Zealand's better performers in the tour match and the lack of runs from the specialist batsmen - Kane Williamson's first-innings 55 and Brendon McCullum's second-innings 51 were New Zealand's only half-centuries in the game - would be a concern heading in to the Test. However, Taylor said the side would be better for the outing, despite the lack of runs.

"A warm-up game is a warm-up game. We got what we wanted out of it," he said. "We obviously would have liked a few more runs from our batsmen. We got two bats. We were lucky to come away with the draw but we had a good innings, most of the batsmen had a decent bat out there and the bowlers got a good trundle for one innings. We haven't played with the red ball for a while and it was good to spend a bit of time on our feet.

"[The openers] probably didn't bat as long as the middle order. But they're good players in their own right and I'm sure they'll be looking forward to getting out there on this wicket. The ball is different. It does seem to swing a little bit more so we had to negate that early on and negate the West Indies fast bowlers."

One advantage for New Zealand is the fact that the warm-up game was played at the same venue as the upcoming Test match, which has given them an early look at the conditions in Antigua. Taylor said all in all the three-day game had been a benefit for his men.

"We had a few players coming back and four or five of the guys haven't played cricket for a while," he said. "It was good for them to get out there and play some cricket. The warm-up game, you don't often get to play on the ground you're going to be playing a Test match on. Just getting used to the familiar surroundings I'm sure will be beneficial for the team."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • josh on July 25, 2012, 12:52 GMT

    Up there with the best if not the best after we got robbed of 1-1 by the rain vs SA.It should be an easy series win 4 NZ if complacency dosent set in. We need to play more tests to get the official #1 ranking.

  • Dylan on July 25, 2012, 0:17 GMT

    I'm assuming that they will both be match ready for the second test? I'm hoping so, I'm keen for the both of them to big good, lengthy careers. Van Wyk just doesn't do it for me, and Boult looks like a good replacement for Martin once he goes. If all the stars aligned my team would look like this: 1. McCullum 2. Guptill 3. Williamson 4. Taylor 5. Brownlie 6. Vettori 7. Watling 8. Bracewell 9. Wagner 10. Southee 11. Boult. With a solid (yet admittedly unproven) batting line up and 4 seamers which worked wonders against the Australians with the addition of a genuine wicket taker in Wagner. I would like to throw Ryder in there but until he's available for selection again, I'm hoping Guptill, Williamson and Brownlie really step up their game and show us what they're made of. New Zealand have the right mixture of youth and experience and with a bit of perseverance, have the capability to push up the test ladder.

  • Beau on July 24, 2012, 23:50 GMT

    @thenoostar - Yeah, Southee or Nethula was a close call. I went with Southee because he has proven himself at the top level, if not lately, and he looked as if he troubled Gayle early in his innings (when you need to get Gayle) in the ODIs.

  • Usama on July 24, 2012, 17:42 GMT

    Noooooooooo,i was waiting to see boult in a test match,he surely got some talent,but whatever,i hope he'll get soon a chance

  • Nick on July 24, 2012, 10:01 GMT

    @beejaytee Kinda agree about Bronwlee but would go for 2 spinners. Not sold on Nethulas ability but Southee just doesnt seem to get wickets in tests either so the pitch will help the slows.

    With the batting... Guptill will stuff round scoring at 30 and may make a painful 20, flynn less than 10, Baz and Roscoe will be good for 30 - 70 each before they get themselves out. If Willliamson doesnt get out before scoring, as he often does, he could make some runs. Brownlee could edge his way to 40 like he did in aussie, Vettori is an unknown quantity and Van Wyk can graft to 40 odd. Bracewell seems to have ability at first class level but cant really be relied on in tests and Wagner might chip in with 20. Nethula similar and Martin...

    Best possible case Scenario without Ryder is 320. The bookies should be paying long odds for NZ to exceed these scores.

  • Dummy4 on July 24, 2012, 7:35 GMT

    @Lermy - South Africa B just lost by an innings and 12 runs...

  • Craig on July 24, 2012, 6:38 GMT

    Come on Blackcaps, surely Neil Wagner will make his test debut. I want to see him get us some wickets and win some tests for nz in the future. Best of luck Neil Wagner and the rest of the New Zealand team. Go the Blackcaps!!

  • Satish on July 24, 2012, 5:23 GMT

    Bad news foe NZ.. Both these guys looked good in ODI's.. Bad time to get injured..

  • Dummy4 on July 24, 2012, 5:05 GMT

    I'm sick of this consistent positive outlook from NZ players, still sounding upbeat when there are so many problems. How can you say that your batsmen had a decent bat when your team is bowled out for under 150? Either over confidence or denial. I remember after we finally got our act together and won a match in the ODI series and Oram starts going on about how they were on the up and had the momentum, yet we lost the next two games. We need to stop being so optimistic and start sorting out the problems or we will fall behind bangladesh in the rankings. Start with the batting!

  • Beau on July 24, 2012, 4:26 GMT

    I feel for Boult & Williamson, but they're probably the only players NZ can afford to lose. Both have looked good lately, but so have Wagner & Van Wyk. Wagner may well have bowled his way into the team regardless. If it was anyone else, there would be no like-for-like replacement available. My team: Flynn, Guptil, Baz, Rossco, Kane, Van Wyk, Dan, Bracewell, Southee, Wagner, Martin. Brownlie or Nethula 12th man, as neither have done anything to justify inclusion in the 11. The top four batsmen should be fined every time they hit the ball in the air, and if Baz or Rossco go after three consecutive boundaries, they should be "rested" for the next Test. I bet I'm not alone in being so, so tired of reading "4,4,W" next to the names of our two best batsmen. Lastly, for the sake of both teams, I hope both Tests go the distance. 3 day wins (or losses) aren't going to help either side's development as much as a pair of hard-fought draws would. And please, please(!), no more injuries.

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