New Zealand scrambled Friday to determine their third Test line up to face South Africa in Hamilton with strike bowlers Trent Boult and Tim Southee as well as senior batsman Ross Taylor all injured.
“It’s an interesting process with so many injuries to try and nut down the balance that we do want to go in with,” captain Kane Williamson said.
Boult pulled out Friday after failing to recover sufficiently from the groin injury that affected him in the drawn first Test in Dunedin.
Southee has withdrawn with a hamstring injury and Taylor continues to be hampered by the calf tear that kept him out of the second Test in Wellington which South Africa won by eight wickets.
With the tourists 1-0 up, New Zealand need to win in Hamilton to level the series and Williamson said the state of the wicket on Saturday before the toss would determine the balance of the side.
“Two spinners is an option we’re looking at due to conditions, but also due to how many people we have fit at the moment,” Williamson said.
The absence of Boult, Southee and Taylor not only meant shoring up the batting and bowling departments for New Zealand, but also the slip cordon where Taylor was a permanent fixture and Southee a regular member.
“We were perhaps a little bit limited for the options we might have originally wanted to go in with, the balance we had, so that’s why we want to think a little bit more about it and come and have a look again tomorrow.”
With first-choice bowling backup Lockie Ferguson also injured, the Black Caps called up uncapped Northern Districts all-rounder Scott Kuggeleijn as cover.
At domestic level, Kuggeleijn, 25, “has been one of the top performers with the ball in hand but also he’s scored a number of runs in that middle to lower order”, Williamson said.
Kuggeleijn was unavailable for national selection until recently while he stood trial for rape over an incident dating back to May 2015.
However, a jury found him not guilty last month, deliberating for less than an hour before clearing him.
While Williamson would not reveal any details about the likely make up of the side, head selector Gavin Larsen indicated Neil Wagner and Matt Henry would take over the new ball duties in the absence of Boult and Southee.
“Not having Trent or Tim available tests the depth of our squad, but we’re confident of the job that Neil and Matt can do for us,” he said.