Williamson out of first Test

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“It was pretty close, it was a tough decision, but in the end it was just a touch too early for Kane”

New Zealand batsman Kane Williamson has been ruled out of the first Test against the West in Dunedin after failing to fully recover from a fractured thumb he sustained during the national team’s tour of Bangladesh last month.

Williamson suffered the injury during the first ODI against Bangladesh and will be replaced by Aaron Redmond, who will be representing New Zealand in his first Test match after five years.

National selector Bruce Edgar recently stated that Williamson would be 100 per cent healthy by the time the Test series got underway, but since he has not fully recovered yet, Edgar decided that it was not worth taking the risk.

Williamson had no problems batting in the nets, but his thumb started to trouble him while he was fielding.

“It was pretty close, it was a tough decision, but in the end it was just a touch too early for Kane,” New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum said. “But Aaron has been in such good form and knows these conditions well. We thought he’d be the better option in this Test rather than force Kane back.

“He batted yesterday in the nets and didn’t feel a great deal of discomfort , but with then doing some fielding then going back into the nets it stiffened up. He probably could have played, but in the grand scheme of the season we have in front of us and how valuable he is to us we saw it as a safer option by allowing him to miss this one and give him another week to recover.”

Redmond’s last Test match for New Zealand came against Australia in Adelaide in 2008, but he was drafted into the Test squad after a five-year gap due to his outstanding form in the Plunket Shield, where he has scored 271 runs in two matches at a brilliant average of 67.75.

“It’s a nice story,” McCullum said. “I thought he did a pretty good job for us when he last played and was probably a bit unlucky to have been axed back then. He had a tough year a few years ago when he was captain of Otago and his response since then has been brilliant. It’s another one for the older guys in first-class cricket, showing that the door is never shut.”

Even though he still feels stiffness in his back and considered retiring for a brief period after returning home from Bangladesh, McCullum has adopted a much more positive attitude and mindset heading into the Test series against the West Indies.

“Post Bangladesh its been pretty well reported I took some time to have a think about things,” he said. “I know my test performances haven’t been up to standard of late. Couple that with the slight injury and you start to have some pretty dark thoughts but when took over this job had some big visions for this team and how I fitted into that.

“That certainly hasn’t changed. Just because you go through a few tough times doesn’t mean you should change your goals. I’m very determined to lead this team strongly from the front. And that starts with performance.”

McCullum is also wary of the fact that his side have a great chance to take a 1-0 lead at the end of the first Test since many of the West Indian players are jet-lagged and are still getting accustomed to the conditions.

“It’s a great opportunity for us,” he said. “The placement of the Test match in Dunedin as well – while I’m very fond of Dunedin it’s not the most tropical place in the world – and from where they’re from they may not be entirely comfortably if we get those southerlies coming in. They are a very good cricket team and experienced in a range of conditions, so we are very respectful of how good they’ll be but we do see it as a good opportunity to get us under way in the series and the summer.”

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