New Zealand wicketkeeper-batsman Tom Latham could miss his team’s World Cup opener against Sri Lanka at Cardiff on June 1 due to a finger fracture he sustained last week.
Latham was injured during his team’s warm-up game against Australia in Brisbane.
The wicketkeeper was cleared to travel to the World Cup along with the rest of the squad and the injury is healing well, according to stuff.co.nz. But he could miss their warm-up games and opener.
Tom Blundell will stand guard behind the stumps if Latham becomes unavailable for their game against New Zealand. He could hence become the first New Zealander since 1987 to debut in an ODI game at the World Cup.
Tim Seifert – who is recovering from a finger injury himself – and test wicketkeeper BJ Watling did not travel with the squad on Sunday.
New Zealand chief selector Gavin Larsen told Trackside Radio confirmed that the medical staff will take a call on Latham’s availability.
“Whether he [Latham] takes his place in those warm-up games we’ll take a day-by-day approach on that, which will be down to the medical guys and Gary [Stead] and support staff when they’re over there,” Larsen told Trackside Radio, as quoted by Cricbuzz.
“They’re both ready; Tim has come off the back of his finger injury, that’s OK, and BJ has been going well. We’ve got the different skill sets covered.”
Windies star Chris Gayle expressed his delight at being provided the opportunity to represent his nation for the fifth World Cup in a row.
The southpaw confessed that he had considered retirement a couple of years ago but the support of the fans drove him to play on.
“Honestly [I do it for] the fans, I am not going to lie. Maybe a couple of years ago the thought did cross [that I have had enough],” he said to Press Trust of India.
“Then the fans came out and said ‘don’t go’. They actually drive me to go on. I know nothing lasts forever and hopefully, I can give them a few more games and it also pushes you to win the World Cup.
“Never really considered thinking about it but time does fly quickly,” Gayle said.
“I could never dream of playing so many World Cups but it has happened. It shows consistency in the career.
“That keeps you going and earn a lot of praise. Hard work in the last couple of has years paid off. People want to see you more and you are trying to deliver as much as possible.
“We have seen changes [in the cricket board] in the last couple of months,” he said.
After several players were involved in the altercations with the board, things have steadied down in the past few months and Gayle is hopeful of a positive rebuilding phase.
“Hopefully, the new team gets it right, gets the structure in place. Cricket is the most important thing for the Caribbean. Hope they take the game to where it is supposed to be.
“It will take time, of course. Lot of things need to be rebuilt. On the field, we had a good series against England, now the World Cup is coming up and that is another opportunity for us to turn things around.”
Mark Wood hopes he and fellow paceman Jofra Archer can “ruffle a few feathers” together as England prepare to field one of the quickest new ball pairings in their one-day history.
Wood will make his first competitive appearance in more than two months in Friday’s fourth one-day international against Pakistan in an effort to stake his claim for a World Cup spot, finally deemed ready for action after familiar concerns over his left ankle.
The 29-year-old has been kept on the shelf ever since a transformational tour of the West Indies, during which he hit fierce speeds touching 95mph.
Archer has arrived on the scene in the intervening weeks and has worked up his own head of steam, nudging 94mph during his first three caps, and the sight of the pair working in tandem is a tantalising one.
It will become a reality at Trent Bridge, with both men in an XI missing banned captain Eoin Morgan and rested trio Jonny Bairstow, Liam Plunkett and Chris Woakes.
“It’ll be good to have two pace lads in at the same time and to see if we can really ruffle a few feathers,” said Wood.
“For any team, two fast bowlers tends to be rare, so it will be good to play in the same team. It will be nice to bounce off him, see what plans he has. It will be nice to see how he works and hopefully watch him from fine-leg bowling rockets.
“He has natural raw pace whereas I feel I have to bust a gut to get it up there. It’s just so natural and that’s exciting for English cricket.
“He’s definitely he’s right up there among the best in the world for pace so it will be interesting to bowl alongside him. It will be interesting to see how far back the wicketkeeper stands for him and me!”
Wood appeared relaxed about his fitness, insisting his elongated lay-off owed more to caution from the management and inclement weather than a genuinely worrying injury.
He has taken to bowling double spells in the nets, 12 overs rather than his usual six, but is eager to test himself back in the middle.
“It’s been a long time and every time I’ve tried to get a match in it’s rained,” he said.
“It would’ve been nice to play for Durham (before England), and that was the plan to just get back in the swing of things. The cards have fallen a different way and that’s the way it is.
“Trevor Bayliss (head coach) said that he wanted me ready for the World Cup not for Durham, and there was no point in rushing it straightaway, which was a nice feeling actually. But you never take for granted playing for England so I’ll be giving it my best shot. I’m doing plenty of running, plenty in the gym, just general ticking over the body to make sure I’m ready to go.”
Jos Buttler will lead the team in Morgan’s absence, which came about as a result of overseeing slow over-rates, and Wood has warned the stand-in not to fall foul of the same regulation.
“The only difference is rather than the captain coming up to you from extra cover the wicketkeeper will be running all the way down the wicket and back, so we’ll have to watch that over-rate again,” he said.
“Obviously Eoin is a big loss because he’s our captain, our leader, but I’m sure Jos can do just as well.”
Provided by Press Association Sport