Black Caps bowler Trent Boult will miss the England Test series this month but remains in contention for the World Test Championship final against India, coach Gary Stead has confirmed.
Boult departs for England next week after he opted to return to New Zealand and spend time with his family following the suspension of the Indian Premier League last month due to a Covid-19 outbreak.
Black Caps in the IPL were given a flight to the UK via a short stay in the Maldives to join the rest of the Test squad preparing for the two-Test series against England this month but Boult, with New Zealand Cricket’s support, came home instead for time with his family and was confirmed to miss at least the first match.
Stead confirmed this morning he will now also miss the second Test.
"I don't think you'll see Trent in the two test matches, our planning with Trent is that we have him ready for the World Test Championship final," Stead said.
"He has had a week of bowling (at home) which has been great following the fair amount of isolation time he had following the IPL, but our view with Trent now is that it's unlikely that he will play the Test in Edgbaston and he's more likely to be just available for the one-off Test (against India)."
In Boult’s absence, the pace trio of Tim Southee, Neil Wagner and Kyle Jamieson are expected to lead the attack at Lord’s and Birmingham but Stead said they have plenty of other options available too.
"Matt Henry, Doug Bracewell and Jacob Duffy are the other seam-bowling options that are in contention to come in, or we look at a rebalancing of the team and we look at it slightly differently."
"The conditions we face here in England are slightly different to New Zealand and looking at the pitch at Lord's today we see a pitch that has a green tinge and it's cut to about 6mm and we're use to a lot more grass than that so it certainly looks different."
Two areas up for discussion are the opening partnership and all-rounder spot, with Stead confirming in-form batsman Devon Conway is being considered as an opener.
"He's been one guy we've looked at and is certainly an option at the top for us but we've also got other guys who have done a great job for us in Tom Blundell and Will Young so it's a luxurious position to be in when you've got some of the resources we've got at the moment."
The first Test at Lord’s begins tomorrow night with the second Test starting on June 10.