India vs New Zealand 2016: Jimmy Neesham ruled out of Kolkata Test
The dynamic Kiwi all-rounder is likely to be ruled out of the entire series after failing to recover in time for the Kolkata Test.
New Zealand all-rounder Jimmy Neesham has been ruled out of the second Test against India starting on Friday owing to a rib injury that had prevented his participation in the first Test as well.
While he was expected to be fit for the second Test, the update is that the rib injury might even rule him out of the entire series.
"Jimmy Neesham's injury will rule him out of at least this Test. That takes away options in terms of changing our balance a bit. But that's okay. We are not able to get any replacement in time who is a batting allrounder. Unfortunately, we have got a few other injuries at home as well, which makes that really challenging," said New Zealand coach, Mike Hesson.
Neesham injured his rib while batting in the nets in Delhi. His injury adds to a list of injury woes for the Kiwis on this tour. Fast bowler Tim Southee, and off-spinner Mark Craig were the others to limp off from this tour. Craig's replacement, Jeetan Patel, is not even confirmed to reach in time for the second Test after a delay in his flight.
Given Martin Guptill's woes with the bat and New Zealand's preference for all-rounders, Neesham had high odds of playing the second Test in Kolkata. But the setback means his International comeback has further been delayed.
Neesham has had a stop-start Test career which looks decent on paper. He averages 38.25 in 10 Tests with two hundreds. He made his Test debut against India in February 2014, registering his maiden test century in that game, scoring an unbeaten 137, the highest score by a Test number 8. He followed that up with another hundred in West Indies in his next Test.
With Neesham ruled out, New Zealand have minimal options left in the squad, should they leave the struggling Guptill out. Henry Nicholls, who averages 27.62 from six Tests, is the only remaining batting option for the Black Caps.
He had scored an impressive half-century in his last Test, against South Africa at Centurion last month, but it did not seem enough to earn him a spot in the eleven for the Kanpur Test. As New Zealand opted out of training on Wednesday, the decision is likely to be made on the eve of the Test.
"We are restricted in some of our options," Hesson said. "We have got Henry Nicholls in our group. Once again he has never played in India but played really nicely in South Africa in conditions that once again are distinctly different.”
“He is a smart lad. He spent the last week trying to keep evolving his game plan. He is an option for us. And we will look at the conditions first before making a call."