Henry Nicholls is a doubt for New Zealand’s first Test against England at Lord’s starting on June 2 after sustaining a grade one calf strain during a pre-tour training camp.
The left-handed middle-order batter, who has amassed 2,544 in 46 Tests at an average of 40.38, had an MRI scan on his right calf after feeling discomfort in a running session in Mount Maunganui.
While he will still make the trip to England for next month’s three Test matches, he seems set to miss their two warm-ups and could even be out of commission for the series opener at the home of cricket.
“While it’s a positive that Henry hasn’t torn the calf, the next two to three weeks are going to be crucial in terms of his recovery and subsequent availability for the Test series,” said Black Caps head coach Gary Stead.
“Calves can be a challenge to rehab and we will need to minimise the risk of him re-injuring himself with any return to match action.
“Henry’s obviously an important player for us at number five and we know he’ll be doing everything he can to make himself available.”
New Zealand finished their three-day training camp on Wednesday and will head for England in two groups this weekend although captain Kane Williamson, fellow batter Devon Conway, all-rounder Daryl Mitchell and experienced seamers Trent Boult and Tim Southee remain at the Indian Premier League.
It is as yet unclear when the quintet will link up with the Kiwis but New Zealand named an initial 20-strong group – which will be whittled down to 15 before Lord’s – to cover for those absences.