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New Zealand head coach Mike Hesson is optimistic that veteran batsman Ross Taylor will be fit for the first Test, which will be a day-night affair, against England on March 22.
Hesson’s comments come after Taylor was forced to miss the fifth and final ODI against England in Christchurch due to a thigh injury.
Taylor sustained the injury during the fourth ODI in Dunedin, where he led the Black Caps to victory with a career-best knock of 181 not out.
With the first Test in Auckland still more than a week away, Hesson pointed out that a cautious approach will be taken with Taylor in order to give him the best chance of being fit for the match.
“We’re not going to force it too soon to make sure he’s ready for the first Test,” Hesson was quoted by stuff.co.nz as saying. “We know how to work with Ross, in terms of what he needs to prepare for the Test match. We certainly won’t put his position at risk by pushing it too hard, too soon.”
Hesson is also keeping an eye on wicketkeeper-batsman BJ Watling, who has recovered from a hip injury.
Like Taylor, Hesson is confident that Watling will be in the playing XI for the first Test against England.
“BJ is going really nicely. He’s in the middle of his second four-day game keeping pain-free touch wood and he’s coming along nicely,” the 43-year-old said.