'World-class' BJ Watling in the mix for second Test after Tom Blundell debut heroics - Kane Williamson

Black Caps captain Kane Williamson will now be torn between choosing his side's wicketkeeper for the second Test against the West Indies in Hamilton, after the debut heroics of Tom Blundell.

Blundell, 27, made a century in his first Test for New Zealand, as the Black Caps picked up an emphatic innings and 67-run win at the Basin Reserve.

However, with regular wicketkeeper BJ Watling returning to fitness and also scoring a hundred for Northern Districts in the Ford Trophy against Wellington yesterday, the Black Caps now have a tough choice as to who should be behind the stumps in Hamilton.

Williamson though, refused to close the door on Watling.

"BJ's been a world class player for us for a number of years," he said.

"(He's) obviously battling with a few niggles at the moment, but we're always monitoring his progress with how his body's coming along."

New Zealand cricket selectors confer will Williamson and coach Mike Hesson on selections.

The Black Caps wicketkeeper missed the innings and 67 run win with a hip injury. Source: 1 NEWS


'Australia desperately need' banned duo, says Shane Warne

By the time Steve Smith and David Warner serve their 12-month bans for ball- tampering, Australian cricket will be pleading for their return, says Shane Warne.

The former national team vice-captain believes Australia doesn't have too many X-factor players which makes the case stronger for Smith and Warner's return.

"By the time Smith and Warner are ready, Australia will be pleading to have them back, they are two of the top five best batsmen in the world," said Warne.

"Australia desperately need them."

The former leg-spin guru is promoting his autobiography 'No Spin', but his comments are timely given Australia's struggles against Pakistan in the first Test in Dubai.

Tim Paine's men are 3-136 in their second innings and need another 326 to win, which seems unlikely.

Warne believes Australia have lost the "fear factor" ever since England won the 2005 Ashes but the next series against the old enemy is still delicately poised.

"I think Australia will give England a real run for their money next year," said the 49-year-old.

"I don't think England have feared Australia since they won the series in 2005, which they deserved to as the better side. Since then England realised Australia can be beaten.

"Australia haven't really got too many X-factor players. But I don't think Australia really fear England too much now either, aside from Jimmy Anderson bowling with the Dukes ball."

Disgraced pair Smith and Warner will be back from their suspensions in time for that series and Warne expects both men to regain pivotal roles in Australia's set-up.

"It's going to be tough for them at first.

"Forgiveness takes time, but there's nothing like making a couple of hundreds in a row and people thinking, 'Oh, we've missed this guy'.

"They have to be aware that they're in for a bit of a hostile time around the world until they've earned the respect back."

1 NEWS Sport reporter gives his thought as the aftermath of the Australian cricket cheating continues.
Steve Smith and David Warner. Source: Photosport



'Would have liked to seen Jimmy bat a bit longer' - Black Caps coach impressed with Neesham in Plunket Shield opener

He's used to rocking up at the Basin Reserve for the domestic cricket season, but things were different for Gary Stead this time around as Black Caps coach.

The 46-year-old arrived was in the capital to watch the Plunket Shield opener between Wellington Firebird and Auckland Aces on the first day of the season.

"I arrived down here at the Basin this morning, and to not be out there helping with warm-ups and things like that was a wee bit different," said Stead.

"It's been really hard-fought out there.

"We've seen a little bit of rustiness I think from both teams," he said.

"There's been a wee bit in it for the bowlers all day, and there's been some nice innings without quite kicking on for bigger ones."

Stead was perhaps alluding to the innings of in-form all-rounder Jimmy Neesham, who picked up where he left off in the pre-season with his first fifty of the campaign.

But he was out shortly after reaching the milestone.

"Would have liked to seen Jimmy bat a bit longer, and I'm sure he would as well."

Stead also confirmed that injured Black Cap Mitchell Santner is expected to be back playing first-class cricket before the end of the year.

"He's had a significant knee operation, and likely that he will be back at first class level somewhere around mid-December (…) but he's tracking really well at the moment."

Stead was in the capital watching the Firebirds host the Auckland Aces on the first day of the season. Source: 1 NEWS


Watch: Kane Williamson, four Black Caps ND teammates combine for 1 run - then Trent Boult performs a miracle

Trent Boult starred with the ball, then with the bat, as Northern Districts star-studded side narrowly avoided abject humiliation at Mt Maunganui today.

In the opening round of the Plunket Shield agauinst Otago, Boult took two wickets and his team was sitting prod after rolling the visitors for just 108.

But after lunch, their Black Cap-laden batting order crumbled.

Kane Williamson 1, BJ Watling 0, Colin de Grandhomme 0, Ish Sodhi 0 and Neil Wagner 0 combined for just one run, and at 58 for eight, then 82 for nine, an embarrassing first innings loss looked on the cards.

But, of course, you can never count at Boult, who proceeded to smash 61 off 37 balls, to haul his side in front, eventually ending on 136.

The Black Caps travel to the United Arab of Emirates for three T20s, three ODIs and three Tests against Pakistan later this month with the first T20 set to start on October 31.

The Northern Districts bowled Otago all out in the first innings for 108 runs in Mount Maunganui. Source: 1 NEWS


'See what comes up next year' - disgraced Australian coach eyes return to cricket

Darren Lehmann has revealed his ambition to return to coaching.

Lehmann was slated to step down as Australia's coach after the 2019 Ashes in England but resigned in tears amid the Cape Town cheating scandal.

Lehmann was cleared of any wrongdoing by a formal Cricket Australia (CA) investigation of the ball-tampering saga, which resulted in year-long bans for Steve Smith and David Warner.

The no-nonsense mentor decided, shortly after watching Smith repeatedly break down during his arrival press conference at Sydney airport, that it was time to go.

Lehmann, who was in charge of the national side for almost five years, recently completed his contract with CA at the organisation's training base in Brisbane.

The 48-year-old doesn't hold any formal coaching position.

"I'd like to coach again one day. I think I'm a good coach, my coaching record is pretty good," Lehmann told AAP at the launch of Fox Cricket.

"At some stage I'll get there.

"A shorter commitment is probably the way to go ... that's probably what I'm looking for.

"But I'm just going to stay away from it this summer, watch the cricket and enjoy it. See what comes up next year."

Lehmann oversaw Ashes success at home in 2013-14 and 2017-18, plus Australia's 2015 World Cup triumph, but his role in the side's aggressive win-at-all-costs mentality has been questioned.

The former Test batsman is keen to see the results of an independent cultural review of CA, having shared some "good discussions" with the Ethics Centre panel.

Lehmann backed Smith, who attended Tuesday's launch at the SCG, Warner and Cameron Bancroft to bounce back from their bans.

"I speak to them all the time. They're going alright," Lehmann said.

"They'll come back really well. They're good young men and they'll come back.

"They've been training, hitting and they're fit. Spending some time away from the game as well.

"I'd love them to be available for domestic cricket but that's not my decision. That's the powers above me."

The previous six months have been a rollercoaster for Lehmann, who has previously admitted he initially wasn't in a great place after the sandpaper scandal.

"I've got my life back. It (coaching Australia) was 300-odd days away from home a year, it takes its toll," Lehmann said.

"It's been good to be home and actually enjoy just going to the cricket now, watching it without all the influences around having to win.

"There's no stress, put it that way. It's quite good."

Australian Cricket coach Darren Lehmann. Source: 1 NEWS