Saturday, December 25, 2010

McCullum likely to miss first two Twenty20s

New Zealand have suffered a setback as Brendon McCullum is likely to miss the first two Twenty20s against Pakistan due to back stiffness. On Wednesday, he had been named in the squad for the three Twenty20s over the next week but his availability was in doubt after a fitness test. New Zealand are already missing regular captain Daniel Vettori, who has been rested for the Twenty20s.
McCullum had injured his back during the second Test against India in November, in which he scored a double-century to secure a draw, but played in the third Test and three of the five ODIs that followed. The back problem had ruled McCullum out of much of the ongoing HRV Cup, New Zealand's domestic Twenty20 tournament, as well. He plays as a specialist batsman in Tests but continues to keep in the shorter formats.
"He has shown great determination and a great willingness to push through discomfort in order to help New Zealand during the recent tour of India," said selector Glenn Turner, "but because Brendon is committed to being a wicketkeeper-batsman for New Zealand in limited-overs cricket, we are taking a longer-term view and will not risk further setbacks."
The first Test against Pakistan starts on January 7, for which McCullum is expected to be definitely available, though whether he plays the final Twenty20 on December 30 will depend on the result of another fitness test.
"The medical staff are confident that intensive treatment and the right rehabilitation will stabilise his injury and get him back to full fitness," Turner said. "He may be available for selection in the third Twenty20 as a batsman but only if the testing and assessment prove that his involvement will not have a detrimental affect on his overall recovery and his ability to wicket-keep in the one-day series."
The Pakistan series is rounded off by six one-dayers starting January 22 and will be the final international matches for both teams before the World Cup.

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