Oram out of Australia tour with back injury

Jacob Oram has been ruled out of New Zealand's tour of Australia with a stiff back. Oram missed the second Test in Bangladesh last month after injuring his back and, though an MRI scan this week revealed the injury was not serious, chose to play it safe and skip the two-Test series starting November 20.

He is expected to be fit for the home series against West Indies in December.

"We could have pushed hard for the Australian tour, we could have tested it, trialled it, maybe even gone and had a fitness test to see if I could have made it," Oram told New Zealand's Radio Sport. "But the worrying thing was that it isn't 100% at the moment, and if we made it even worse then it meant the West Indies series was in jeopardy."

Oram said he contemplated giving up bowling to extend his career as a batsman. "If I want longevity in the game, I don't think I can go along doing what I'm doing now and hope to play for another four or five or six years. I just can't see that happening."

Oram has been plagued by injuries throughout his career. He was forced out of the Napier Test against England earlier this year and, in the return series, pulled out of the Twenty20 international at Old Trafford after injuring himself in the warm-up. He was ruled out of the first three ODIs but returned for the last two matches.

Another New Zealand fast bowler, Michael Mason, will be out of action for three weeks after undergoing a hernia operation on Friday. He last played for New Zealand in the Associate Tri-Series against Ireland and Scotland in July this year.