New Zealand wicketkeeper-batsman Tom Blundell has been ruled out of the ODI series against Pakistan.
The right-hander will miss the ODI series with a left-quad strain which he had sustained during the fourth T20I against Bangladesh recently. All-rounder Daryl Mitchell, who was initially joining the side for the T20I series, will now assemble with the New Zealand ODI squad.
However, Mitchell will only be available only from the second ODI as he will have to complete the mandatory isolation.
“Obviously everyone is gutted for Tom, he’s a quality player with a diverse skill-set,” stand-in coach Glenn Pocknall said in a team statement on Thursday.
“He’ll remain with the squad and we’re hopeful he’ll be available again for the T20I series. With Tom out, we do lose our first choice back-up wicket-keeping option. However, there are several guys in the squad with keeping experience and we’ll ensure they do the necessary work at training to be up to speed if called upon,” he added.
On the other hand, New Zealand physio Nishil Shah said: “Tom’s been working hard since the injury in Bangladesh. The injury’s not quite where we want it so we think it’s best for him to concentrate on his rehab given the big summer of cricket ahead.”
The three-match ODI series will begin on September 17 in Rawalpindi, and will be followed by five T20Is.
The three ODIs will be part of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League ODIs.
Notably, the Kiwi cricket team will be touring Pakistan after a long gap of 18 years.
Earlier, New Zealand’s tour to Pakistan was cut short in 2002 after a bomb explosion outside the team’s hotel in Karachi.
After completing their Bangladesh tour, the New Zealand cricket team landed in Pakistan on a chartered plane of Bangladesh’s Biman Bangladesh Airlines flight at the Islamabad airport on September 11.
New Zealand had last played an ODI series in Pakistan in 2003.
Earlier in August, PCB Chief Executive Wasim Khan had confirmed the Black Caps tour to Pakistan.
“Series against a top-ranked side like New Zealand will be a perfect start to a mouth-watering and highly-exciting home season of red and white-ball cricket. The 2019 World Cup finalists, who are also the World Test champions and ranked third in T20Is, will draw tremendous attraction and interest from the local fans, and will reinforce Pakistan’s status as a safe and secure country,” Khan had said.
“I am pleased New Zealand Cricket has accepted our offer to play two additional Twenty20 Internationals. These will not only provide extra games to both the countries as part of their ICC Men’s T20 World Cup preparations, but will also allow New Zealand players to spend extra days in Pakistan, familiarise with our culture and enjoy our hospitality. With leading cricket playing countries resuming their tours to Pakistan in 2019, I remain confident and optimistic that the 2021-22 season starting with the series against New Zealand will prove to be a catalyst in rejuvenating our talented youngsters while attracting new fans to the game that has the most passionate following in the country,” he had added.
Meanwhile, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) Chief Executive David White had commented: “We’re very much looking forward to returning to Pakistan for the start of their home international season. New Zealand was the first country outside India to tour Pakistan and we share a close relationship with the PCB.”
“It’s great that, after such a difficult time for Pakistan, international cricket is again being played in the country,” he added.