New Zealand confident of Santner’s fitness for World Cup

Mitchell Santner is expected to be fit and available for the start of the World Cup after scans cleared him of serious damage to his knee.

Santner jarred his knee while fielding during New Zealand’s defeat to England at the Ageas Bowl on Sunday and did not feature in the third ODI at The Oval on Wednesday as a result.

New Zealand struggled in his absence, with Ish Sodhi – the other frontline spinner in their provisional World Cup squad – resting at home. Glenn Phillips and Rachin Ravindra shared spin-bowling duties, and returned combined figures of 1 for 85 in 10 overs.

“Mitch had a full scan on his knee, which he landed on when he took that catch in the last game at the Ageas Bowl,” Gary Stead, New Zealand’s head coach, said.

“It’s come back positively, which is good for us. He’s just got quite a bit of swelling around the knee still, which they think is a joint problem. It’s nothing more than that.”

New Zealand’s heavy defeat followed the pattern of the tour, with wide margins of victory and defeat in each of the four T20Is and the first three ODIs.

“All seven games have been a bit like that, haven’t they?” Stead said. “We were just saying, it would be nice to actually have a close one so we can see both teams under pressure.

“It was disappointing that we didn’t put our best foot forward tonight but they played very well. Ben Stokes played an amazing innings.

“Both teams have taken the opportunity to change their line-ups a little bit. With such a congested period of games in a short period of time, we’re certainly mindful of getting people to the World Cup without significant injury or risk.”

One of the few positives for New Zealand in their past two defeats has been Trent Boult‘s seamless return to international cricket, having most recently represented his country at last year’s T20 World Cup.

“I think he’s taken eight wickets in 17 overs,” Stead said. “It’s great to have Trent back: he brings a lot of energy and a lot of skill to the top of the order (sic) for us.

“In the two games he’s played, he’s showed his ability as a world-class player to topple England… [but] we haven’t been able to capitalise on those starts.”


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