Kyle Jamieson 'feeling mentally and physically fresh' after time out injured
New Zealand fast bowler set for international return after suffering back injury in June
Kyle Jamieson has tried to treat his extended spell on the sidelines as "more of a blessing than a hindrance" and hopes to return to New Zealand's Test side both mentally and physically fresher after missing the last seven months with a back injury.
Jamieson hurt his back during the Trent Bridge Test in June, on New Zealand's tour of England, and has only played a handful of games for Auckland since, as part of a "cautious" return to playing. He was named in the Test squad on Thursday for the home series against England starting later this month and is keen to pull on a black cap again, albeit he is only likely to feature in one of the two Tests.
"It's certainly nice to be back in the squad, first time in a wee while, so excited about that," he said. "It's been nice, the journey through club cricket and the process of coming back. Nice to tick off a couple of milestones, and to have another one today [after being selected for the Test squad]."
Jamieson had enjoyed a rapid rise since debuting for New Zealand in 2020, helping his country to win the ICC World Test Championship and being ranked the ICC's No. 5 bowler in Tests at the start of the England tour. But the injury gave him a chance to step off the treadmill and recharge at home before beginning rehab.
"[I've gone through] probably a whole range of emotions," he said. "You go through the initial frustration of the injury, you have a little bit of time at home and it's not too bad, then you see the boys playing on TV and you want to be out there. So a whole range of emotions, but right from early on I wanted to treat the process as more of a blessing than a hindrance and try to focus on what I was gaining from this time, six, seven months or whatever it's been. Try to focus my energy in that sort of way, and obviously nice to be back.
"The nature of the schedule these days, we play so much cricket, and it had been two, two-and-a-half years straight for me. So to have an extended period at home as been nice, certainly feeling fresh, energised, both mentally and physically. So looking forward to taking this next step."
Jamieson to play in England warm-up match
Jamieson played two T20s and two List A games in domestic cricket for Auckland last month, and will take the next step towards a comeback when playing for a New Zealand XI against the tourists in Hamilton ahead of the first Test, a day-night game in Mount Mauganui starting on February 16.
New Zealand will be without Trent Boult for the series, but while Jamieson said he had been building up his workloads bowling in the nets, Gary Stead, New Zealand's head coach, indicated that he was only likely to play one Test against England, with a view to managing his availability through the year.
"Feeling good, bowled a huge amount of overs," Jamieson said. "Not so much in games but I've been bowling since the start of November time, so there's a decent workload under my belt. It's just another step on the journey, how we manage these next couple of weeks will be an ongoing discussion."
Stead said that New Zealand could look to make greater use of Daryl Mitchell's bowling, potentially as a fourth seamer in home conditions, while Ish Sodhi was preferred to Ajaz Patel as an attacking spin option who was more likely to thrive against the aggressive approach pioneered by England under Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum, which saw New Zealand beaten 3-0 during last year's tour of the country.
Jamieson was involved in two of those three Tests, and was keen to tussle with Stokes' side again. "Certainly going pretty good, aren't they? It's been entertaining to watch them change the way they play their cricket. As a fan of the game, it's just exciting to watch. It'll be nice to see it again, up close and personal, in a couple of weeks' time, but it's been great for the game."