In what could be a major setback for the New Zealand team, opener Martin Guptill has suffered an injury in his toe, which could force him to sit out of the big-ticket encounter against India in the ongoing ICC T20 World Cup on October 31.
Guptill, who contributed with a 20-ball 17 against Pakistan on Tuesday, got the bruised toe after being hit by a Haris Rauf delivery in the final over of Powerplay.
The Kanw Williamson-led New Zealand lost the low-scoring affair by five wickets with eight balls remaining in Sharjah on Tuesday.
“We’ll see how he scrubs up overnight,” New Zealand coach Gary Stead told reporters after the game against Pakistan.
“He looked in a little bit of discomfort at the end of the game and it might take 24 to 48 hours to see how he goes,” he added.
Earlier, the Black Caps had already lost the services of pacer Lockie Ferguson, who has been ruled out of the showpiece event due to a calf muscle tear.
Stead said that the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Technical Committee’s decision not to approve Adam Milne as a replacement for Ferguson in time for the Pakistan game was disappointing.
“We tried pretty hard to get across the line with the ICC our replacement player, but it wasn’t to be. That was really disappointing for us because Adam Milne is someone who’s waiting in the wings as a like-for-like replacement. We’ll seek clarification on that decision of theirs,” he expressed.
According to a New Zealand Cricket (NZC) statement, Ferguson felt tightness in his right calf following training Tuesday night with a subsequent MRI scan revealed a grade two tear which would require three to four weeks recovery.
“BLACKCAPS paceman Lockie Ferguson has been ruled out of the ICC T20 World Cup in the UAE with a calf tear. Ferguson will be replaced in the 15-player tournament squad by Adam Milne subject to approval by the ICC Technical Committee,” NZC had said in a tweet.
Commenting on it, Stead had said: “It’s a real shame for Lockie to have this happen on the eve of the tournament and the entire team is really feeling for him right now.”
“He’s a massive part of our T20 side and has been in such good form – so to lose him at this time is a blow. However, we are fortunate to have a like for like replacement in the form of Adam Milne who has been with the squad training for the past two weeks,” he was quoted as saying NZC.
Meanwhile, Stead also reckoned that Pakistan will most likley top the group after registering two wins from as many games.
“You would imagine that Pakistan are now the hot favourites in our group to be the number one seed and the rest of us are fighting it out for the next spot, which makes the India game pretty critical,” he expressed.
“You sometimes have to lose one to find out the important things for you. If we can go and beat India then we certainly put ourselves back on the right track,” added Stead.
After India, the Kiwis are scheduled to take on Scotland, Namibia and Afghanistan on November 3, 5 and 7 in Dubai, Sarjah and Abu Dhabi respectively.