Stand-in New Zealand captain Tom Latham has asserted that regular skipper Kane Williamson will be available for the World Test Championship (WTC) final against India, which starts on June 18 in Southampton.
On Wednesday, Williamson was ruled out of the second Test of the series against England due to an elbow injury. Tom Latham has been appointed captain for the second Test, which starts at Edgbaston on Thursday.
Speaking at a pre-match interaction ahead of the second Test against England, Tom Latham explained that the decision to rest Williamson has been made keeping in mind the WTC final. He said:
"I am sure he will be back. From our point of view, it is a precautionary thing. We would love for him to be available for this game but we have also got the eye on the (WTC) final in a week's time.”
"So it is about Kane giving himself the best opportunity to be fully fit and available for that game. The decision was made for him to rest this one and get that right for the final," Tom Latham further added.
New Zealand coach Gary Stead informed that Williamson was experiencing irritation in his elbow while batting, and hence the decision was taken to allow him to recover for the WTC final. Stead said:
"It's not an easy decision for Kane to have to miss a Test, but we think it's the right one. He's had an injection in his elbow to relieve the irritation he's been experiencing when he bats and a period of rest and rehabilitation will help maximise his recovery. The decision has been made very much with the ICC World Test Championship Final at Southampton in mind and we are confident he will be ready for that match."
Trent Boult’s return a massive plus for us: Tom Latham
While Williamson has been ruled out of the second Test, experienced left-arm pacer Trent Boult looks set to make a comeback, after missing the Lord’s Test. Tom Latham said about Boult:
"His return to the side is a massive boost for us. The way he can swing the ball, his leadership as well. He has been in this part of the world and knows how to perform."
Asked if any of the key bowlers like Neil Wagner or Tim Southee would be rested for the second Test, keeping the WTC final in mind, Tom Latham responded:
"While we have an eye on that final, this is such an important game for us to put a performance that we can be proud of. We will take a call on the 11 or 12 after training but it (resting pacers) is more of a case by case situation."
The first Test between England and New Zealand at Lord’s ended in a draw. Black Caps opener Devon Conway made a memorable Test debut, registering a double hundred in the first innings.