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Middle-order batter Lauren Down and fast bowler Jess Kerr have been ruled out of New Zealand's squad for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games which is scheduled to start later this month. Lea Tahuhu, who missed out on a central contract this season, and uncapped Claudia Green have been called-up as replacements.
According to an NZC media release, Down has withdrawn from the squad to "prioritise her well-being", while Kerr's foot injury, picked during the Women's World Cup 2022 match against Pakistan, needs more rehabilitation before she can return to play. Kerr is likely to return before New Zealand's tour of West Indies in September.
Down had come into her own during the bilateral series against India at home in February before a broken thumb ruled her out of the World Cup. She's the third New Zealand player to take a mental-health break following Sophie Devine and Amelia Kerr last season.
"Our first and main priority is ensuring both Lauren and Jess are looked after - it's never easy missing cricket tours." Ben Sawyer, the new New Zealand head coach said. "We've ensured Lauren has the support she needs and hope she'll be able to join us again soon.
"We thought Jess would recover in time to take the field in Birmingham, and while this has not transpired, the signs are good for an international return for the West Indies tour in September."
Tahuhu picked up ten wickets in the World Cup earlier this year - joint-most for New Zealand - even though she was battling a stiff hamstring. Her omission from the 17-member contracts list was significant given the difference she can bring to the attack with her pace, but NZC had then said that a player can still be selected from outside the contracted group.
"Lea is a familiar face so will be able to hit the ground running at training camp next week," Sawyer said. "We've previously said it's important not to confuse contracting with selection and this is a good example of why.
"Lea offers genuine pace and bounce with the ball and her ability with the bat gives us options."
Green, on the other hand, is a swing bowler and is seen as a like-for-like for Kerr. She was part of the side that toured England last year and has been part of the various New Zealand camps.
"Claudia has a similar skill-set to Jess so fits nicely into the squad make-up," he said. "Her ability to swing the ball is an exciting aspect of her game and we look forward to having her on tour in England."
New Zealand will have a camp in Lincoln next week ahead of their departure to England on July 12.
Updated squad: Sophie Devine (capt), Suzie Bates, Maddy Green, Amelia Kerr, Brooke Halliday, Rosemary Mair, Eden Carson, Hayley Jensen, Jess McFadyen, Fran Jonas, Georgia Plimmer, Hannah Rowe, Izzy Gaze, Lea Tahuhu, Claudia Green