Williamson likely to miss third Test and IPL, Watling may join squad
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson wasn't at New Zealand's training session, and likely to miss the third Test against Bangladesh scheduled to be held on March 16 in Christchurch, reports local media.
Williamson had been suffered a minor pectoral muscle tear on his left side while fielding in the second Test in Wellington. But he is expected to be with the team on Friday. He will have to prove his fitness during Friday's final training run. But all signs are pointing towards a Test debut for Central Districts batsman Will Young, who would bat in Williamson's customary No.3 spot.
Even, the Kiwis star may miss the start of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019 for the same reason. The star is playing for Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Coach Gary Stead said, "There are obvious irritation and a wee bit of bleeding, it's not a major injury. If things progress as we hope, then still going to the IPL shouldn't be a problem for him. But he's also aware that if he's not quite 100 per cent, then we will potentially hold him back as well and make sure that he is right before he goes on that plane."
On the other side, Kiwis wicketkeeper BJ Watling, who suffered a minor left hamstring strain in warm-ups on day five in Wellington and sat out the last day, seemed more positive for the third Test.
Watling stretched by himself to start training on Thursday, while his teammates played a hybrid game of football and volleyball to warm up. Tom Blundell, who played two tests against West Indies in December 2017, is in Christchurch on standby for Watling.
Black Caps batting coach Craig McMillan, who will coach his final match on home soil in this Test before bowing out after the World Cup, said they would make a final call on Williamson and Watling after training on Friday.
"I don't like putting percentages on those types of things. Both have improved since Wellington. We're hopeful of both [playing], but we'll wait and see how they pull through [on Friday]. If they're not close to 100 per cent, they're probably not worth the risk. We'll have to see how they pull through the fitness and a bit of skill work and judge it from," McMillan said.
On the other hand, Bangladesh coach Steve Rhodes was leaning towards Williamson missing the final Test when quizzed on the No.2 test batsman in world cricket's availability.
"I've heard nothing at all. I would imagine he wouldn't play. I'm only thinking, 'He's obviously hot property'. If he's got a problem there, they don't want to risk it," Rhodes said.