Huge blow for NZ with Mitchell Santner to miss up to nine months of cricket with serious knee injury




In-form spinner Mitchell Santner has been ruled out of the upcoming England Test series and will take a further six to nine months off from cricket due to a knee injury that requires surgery.

New Zealand's Mitchell Santner.  Black Caps v England, second international cricket ODI, Bay Oval, Tauranga, New Zealand. Wednesday, 28 February, 2018. Copyright photo: John Cowpland /

New Zealand's all-rounder Mitchell Santner against England.

Source: Photosport

Todd Astle has been called into the squad to replace Santner who experienced discomfort in his right knee in recent short format series' against England and Australia.

A scan taken at the time showed the 26-year-old has a bone defect.

A further scan in recent days has shown that the defect has since deteriorated further and will require surgery to be fixed.

Santner will be operated on later this week, before beginning an extensive rehabilitation - a tough road not just for the bowler - but for the Black Caps unit as a whole coach Mike Hesson said.

"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," said Hesson.

"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."

Elsewhere, wicketkeeper BJ Watling is back in the Test team, named for the two-match series against England.

BJ Watling on Day Three, 7 November 2015. New Zealand Black Caps tour of Australia, 1st test at Brisbane 5-9 November 2015. Copyright photo:

Black Cap BJ Watling.

Source: Photosport

The 32-year-old, 52-Test veteran has missed the home internationals this summer recovering from a hip injury, which allowed Test replacement Tom Blundell to score a century on debut against the West Indies.

Blundell had done a great job, but Watling is a proven performer at Test level and brings a lot to the group both on and off the field, says New Zealand selector Gavin Larsen.

Batsman Ross Taylor, who missed the final one-day international with a thigh injury, has been named in the 12-man squad.

The first match, the first day-night Test to be played in New Zealand, starts in Auckland on Thursday next week.

New Zealand Test squad for England: 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).

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