A fractured finger has put wicket-keeper batsman Tom Latham’s participation in New Zealand’s opening game at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019 in doubt.
New Zealand are set to play a brace of official warm-up matches, against India at The Oval on 25 May, and against West Indies in Bristol on 28 May, before launching their tournament proper against Sri Lanka on 1 June in Cardiff.
According to a report on stuff.co.nz, Latham’s availability for all three clashes is under a cloud, though he is understood to be healing and to have been cleared to travel to England and Wales with the rest of the squad on Sunday, 19 May.
Latham is understood to have sustained the injury during the last of three warm-up matches between New Zealand XI and Australia XI in Brisbane, while keeping wicket. If he doesn’t recover in time, back-up keeper, Tom Blundell will take his place, making him the first New Zealander since Danny Morrison in 1987 to make his ODI debut at the World Cup. Blundell was himself picked ahead of Tim Seifert, who had picked up a finger injury of his own.
Gavin Larsen, the chairman of selectors, said that both Seifert, who has now recovered, and BJ Watling, the Test wicket-keeper, are on stand-by, although neither will travel immediately with the rest of the squad.
“Whether he [Latham] takes his place in those warm-up games, we’ll take a day-by-day approach on that, which will be down to the medical guys and Gary [Stead], and support staff, when they’re over there,” Larsen told Trackside Radio. “They’re both ready; Tim has come off the back of his finger injury, and BJ has been going well. We’ve got the different skill-sets covered.”