Daniel Vettori and Kyle Millis will not be playing in New Zealand's final group match against Sri Lanka on Friday. It is an important match for New Zealand as a positive result will assure them a top two finish in Group A.
But New Zealand are not interested in taking a gamble and want Vettori and Mills to recover from the injuries completely and return fit for the knockout stages. "At this stage we are looking at having Kyle Mills and Daniel Vettori for the quarter-finals. Their injuries are coming along nicely but they are probably not ready for this match," Ross Taylor, New Zealand's stand-in captain, said.
Vettori hurt his knee while attempting a catch in the win against Pakistan last week while Mills strained his left quadricep in the match against Canada last Sunday. Both players were present the team's training at the Wankhede stadium, but other than doing a few stretches, they just milled around with team-mates.
As a precautionary step, New Zealand have called Dary Tuffey as a cover for Mills. "With Kyle Mills suffering from a quad strain we felt it was important to cover our bases," New Zealand selector Mark Greatbatch said.
"The medical team is working hard to get Kyle fit and we are hopeful he will still play a big part in the World Cup so bringing in Daryl is a precaution. Getting Daryl over to India early gives him the best chance of adjusting to the different time zone and conditions should he become part of the official squad." Tuffey is currently playing in the New Zealand's first-class competition, the Plunket Shield, representing Auckland against Northern Districts. He will join the team on Friday.
This will be the second match at the renovated Wankhede stadium, which will host the final on April 2. The New Zealand-Canada contest, a day match, saw nearly 600 runs scored on a pitch which had true bounce, but became flatter steadily. It is expected to behave the same on Friday even though the match will be played under lights. Taylor said a settled top order and a host of power hitters in the lower order makes New Zealand a formidable opponent against Sri Lanka, who would be playing their first game away from home.
"Our top four or five are fairly settled. The way Martin Guptill and Brendon McCullum have batted have been outstanding in laying a platform. Jesse Ryder has had good form back home. He has not had probably the same opportunities here but he has been striking the ball very well out there. Another strength of ours is the lower batting order and the power hitting that we have," Taylor said.
Giving a hint about the selection, Taylor said the choice for a replacement for Mills would be between a specialist bowler or an allrounder. "Luke Woodcock comes into the 12. I will have to see as far as balance of the side goes whether we go in with an extra bowler or an extra allrounder." Hamish Bennett, who sat out the Canada match, could be in competition with Woodcock.