Image courtesy of: Zimbio
New Zealand all-rounder Mitchell Santner could be ruled out for up to nine months after suffering a knee injury that requires him to undergo surgery.
Santner experienced pain in his knee during the T20 tri-series against Australia and England.
Despite this, Santner continued playing and featured in the recent ODI series against England, where he averaged 108 with the bat and 69 with the ball.
Initial scans showed a bone defect, while a more recent scan confirmed that the problem had deteriorated further.
Since Santner is expected to be on the sidelines for six to nine months after going under the knife, he was replaced by Todd Astle for the upcoming two-Test series against England, which begins with a day-night Test in Auckland on March 22.
Furthermore, Santner will miss the Indian Premier League (IPL) next month, where he was supposed to represent the Chennai Super Kings, and his county stint with Derbyshire.
“On a personal level everyone feels for Mitchell. He’s a popular guy in the changing room and he’s well respected for the work he puts in for the side,” New Zealand head coach Mike Hesson was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au. “Mitchell is a key player in all three formats for us, so we’ll certainly miss him in the upcoming series. It’s important though that he gets this fixed and we have him back for what is a big next 18 months for us.”
While Santner had to be replaced, wicketkeeper-batsman BJ Watling is back in the Test squad.
Watling recently recovered from a hip injury and has subsequently replaced Tom Blundell, who replaced him in the side for the series against the West Indies in December.
Even though Blundell fared extremely well against the men from the Caribbean and scored a century on debut, Watling regained his spot in the team.
Meanwhile, veteran batsman Ross Taylor, who missed the fifth and final ODI against England with a thigh injury, has been included in the Test squad.
New Zealand Test Squad: Kane Williamson (c), Todd Astle, Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Jeet Raval, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling (wk)