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Daryl Mitchell cleared for T20 World Cup campaign

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CHRISTCHURCH: All-rounder Daryl Mitchell will be retained in New Zealand’s squad for the T20 World Cup in Australia and may recover in time from a broken finger for the Black Caps’ first game on Oct 22 against the hosts.

Mitchell fractured the little finger on his right hand last week and was ruled out of the ongoing tri-series at home against Pakistan and Bangladesh.

New Zealand head coach Gary Stead said Mitchell had a positive prognosis after scans on his injury.

“We’re still hopeful he might be right for the first game but probably more realistically in the second game,” Stead told reporters on Monday.

New Zealand, runners-up to Australia last year in the United Arab Emirates, face Afghanistan in the second match on Oct 26 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

The 31-year-old Mitchell was a key performer in New Zealand’s run to the final of last year’s T20 World Cup, which they lost to Australia in Dubai.

A seam bowling, middle-order batsman, Mitchell had a cast on his hand on Monday but said it was a massive relief to be cleared for the World Cup.

“Obviously it’s a massive relief, but it’s really nice to get the nod and give this hand a chance to be ready,” Mitchell told reporters. “The fracture is in a good spot and it’s going to be able to heal in time. It’s just a matter of getting rid of the pain. Hopefully that will go away over the next couple of weeks.”

Paceman Lockie Ferguson, who missed last year’s World Cup due to a calf tear, is also under a cloud in the lead-up to Australia after suffering an abdominal injury.

Stead said he was unlikely to feature in the home tri-series but was “tracking well” for the World Cup.

Fast bowler Adam Milne was also cleared of major damage after an injury scare in New Zealand’s eight-wicket win over Bangladesh in Christ­church on Sunday.

Playing in his first competitive match since March after recovering from an Achilles injury, Milne came off with a minor abdominal strain after bowling two overs.

Stead said it was purely precautionary, though, and Milne could feature in New Zealand’s next tri-series game against Pakistan in Christchurch on Tuesday.

Published in Dawn, October 11th, 2022



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