New Zealand head coach Gary Stead said left-arm pacer Trent Boult will not feature for the hosts’ second Test against South Africa, starting from Friday at Hagley Oval. Boult had sat out of the first Test due to the birth of his third child.
His absence now means that pacer Matt Henry, who was in the playing eleven for the first Test and took 7/23 in the first innings followed by a knock of 53 at number eleven and adding two more to his wickets tally, is likely to retain his place in the playing eleven.
“Our squad will remain the same with the 15 that we have. We considered a (frontline) spin option but didn’t feel as though we needed it on this pitch we played on, through history and the way it was looking after the last Test match. Expect the pitch to be pretty similar,” said Stead.
Updating Boult’s availability status, Stead said, “Trent Boult isn’t in a position to be available for this Test match with his loads and where he’s at, at the moment. Since his wife has been having the baby, he’s missed out on a lot of opportunities to play cricket and bowl. We just felt the risk of him playing was far too great at the moment to do that to him.”
“Through discussions that Trent and I had about a week ago now, we thought it was unlikely that he would be right for this. He’s going to come down in the next few days to bowl with us. But again, you look at what the likely loads that he would need for a test match, it would put him in a very high injury risk. And we’re not prepared to do that.”
Stead further spoke in praise of Henry and the whole Blackcaps batting attack in the first Test. “He’s always been a good bowler and sometimes you need that opportunity to strike and make the most of it and he certainly made the most of the opportunity that was in front of him.”
“He bowled beautifully throughout the Test but I thought the whole bowling unit bowled really well together and I think that was one of the reasons we were so convincing in that last Test as well.”
Stead also gave an update on premier batter and regular skipper Kane Williamson’s progress from an elbow injury. “He’s going great. He’s right on track for where we wanted him to be. He wants to bat and bat and bat more and more, but again, the risk we have is we push him too quickly and batting too long and we overload him and he goes backwards again. We’re trying to avoid that at all costs.”
Stead cautioned that the second Test won’t be an easy one for New Zealand. “But I also want to reiterate that South Africa aren’t a bad side, either. Yes, we got on the right side of it this time, but we expect them to come back and come back strongly. We’ll certainly be ready for that as well.”