What is that?! Alarm raised over Wellington pitch ahead of crucial T20 clash between Black Caps, England

Westpac Stadium could fall under further scrutiny from New Zealand Cricket after images surfaced of a significantly lacklustre drop-in pitch set to be used for tonight's crucial Tri-Series Twenty20 match between the Black Caps and England.

Former English cricketer Ian Ward shared an image of the pitch last night which featured a strange-looking bare patch in the middle.

Westpac Stadium has already come under fire this year for an unimpressive surface after it hosted a T20 international between the Black Caps and Pakistan on January 22.

The visitors were bowled for just 105 on the occasion with the Black Caps themselves struggling at times to chase down the target - the home team needing 16 overs and the loss of three wickets to get the job done.

"We're all well aware it wasn't a great wicket," Black Caps coach Mike Hesson said after that match.

The Black Caps play England at 7pm tonight.

The Westpac Stadium pitch ahead of the Black Caps' Tri-Series T20 match against England.
The Westpac Stadium pitch ahead of the Black Caps' Tri-Series T20 match against England. Source: Ian Ward / Twitter


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Kane Williamson in doubt for tomorrow's Black Caps T20 match against England

Black Caps skipper Kane Williamson is committed to playing Twenty 20 cricket for New Zealand but could miss tomorrow's match against England in Wellington due to a back problem.

Williamson isn't quite 100 per cent and is being monitored ahead of tomorrow's tri-series match.

"100ish… just got a few niggles, a bit of a back niggling so hopefully it's settled by tomorrow night," said Williamson.

He trained this afternoon with the New Zealand team.

Former Black Cap Simon Doull believes Williamson might benefit if he solely focused on Test and ODIs and left T20 to develop younger talent.

"I definitely want to play all three forms, it's a challenge I look forward to," said Williamson.

"But at the same time as we've seen throughout the summer already guys have had time off.

"They've missed a few games for those reasons and it is a balancing act, moving forward because the volume of cricket seems to increase every year."

Rookie Tim Seifert is preparing for his potential debut for the Black Caps after grabbing the attention of selectors after his record breaking century in the Super Smash off just 40 balls for the Northern Districts.

"I've been going well batting the last couple of weeks so I'm not going to change anything different so I'll just stand there and try to react," said Seifert.

The Black Caps will be looking to break their three game losing streak when they take on England tomorrow.

Kane Williamson bats against Pakistan
Kane Williamson bats against Pakistan Source: Photosport

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'They've shot the lights out at domestic level' – Black Caps selectors back explosive T20 debutants

Black Caps selector Gavin Larsen has backed the side's two newest members to fire for the remainder of the Twenty20 tri-series against England and Australia, with Mark Chapman and Tim Seifert called into the New Zealand side.

The pair both had strong Super Smash campaigns, in which Auckland's Champman averaged 34.11 runs at a strike-rate of 171.50, and Northern Districts' Seifert averaged 32.30 at 146.81 and was the third leading run scorer in the competition.

Speaking to media today, Larsen spoke highly of the duo, ahead of their first appearances for the Black Caps.

"They're there for a reason," he said.

"They have basically shot the lights out at domestic level in the Super Smash."

"They're very talented, they're explosive players with a lot of x-factor. To me, they're match winners and they need to transfer that onto the next stage."

The Black Caps are next in action against England in Wellington on February 13.

Gavin Larsen threw his support behind new call-ups Mark Chapman and Tim Seifert. Source: 1 NEWS