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ICC World Cup 2019 | Fractured Finger Casts Doubts Over Latham's Availability in WC Opener

Tom Latham, the New Zealand wicket-keeper batsman, is a doubt for his side's World Cup opener against Sri Lanka on June 1 after he fractured his middle finger on the left hand.

Cricketnext Staff |May 17, 2019, 12:50 PM IST
ICC World Cup 2019 | Fractured Finger Casts Doubts Over Latham's Availability in WC Opener

Tom Latham, the New Zealand wicket-keeper batsman, is a doubt for his side's World Cup opener against Sri Lanka on June 1 after he fractured his middle finger on the left hand.

Latham took a blow to his finger during New Zealand's practice game against Australia in Brisbane last week and was immediately taken off the field to assess its condition. Medical reports later revealed that the 27-year-old had suffered a small fracture, which is likely to keep him on the sidelines for a bit. He will, however, travel with the rest of the squad to England on Sunday (May 19) but his return to competitive action remains unclear.

"I was just keeping to Matt Henry – a ball down the legside, I dived for it and didn't quite get it in the gloves properly. I kept keeping for a few overs, then I took my glove off and my finger wasn't quite in the right direction – very disappointing but the good thing is I should be okay," Latham told Radio Sport on how the injury occurred.

"This week and next week are going to be pretty important in terms of recovery – once we get over there we'll certainly start to progress things in holding a bat and catching balls. Certainly this isn't ideal timing.

"It's just about making sure the bone starts to heal. It's hard to put a timeframe on it until we start catching balls with the gloves on, then we should start to know more. It's a bit of a waiting game at the moment."

It looks almost certain at this stage that Tom Blundell will keep wickets during New Zealand's two warm-up games, against India on May 25 and West Indies on May 28. If Latham is unable to recover in time, Blundell might be in line for a One-Day International debut four days later in Cardiff.

"It is pretty exciting but I've just got to wait and see. Hopefully for Tom it's not too bad and he has a speedy recovery. If called upon I'll be ready," Blundell told Stuff.

"Those games last week against Aussie were a great experience and I'll draw on that confidence if I do get a chance to play the first couple of games."

Blundell has played two Tests and three Twenty20 internationals for New Zealand and was a surprise pick in the World Cup squad over Tim Seifert and BJ Watling. He looked impressive during his knock of 77 against an Australian XI in game one at Allan Border Field.

New Zealand selector Gavin Larsen confirmed that Seifert and Watling were on standby in case Latham does not return to full fitness but will remain in New Zealand.

"Whether he takes his place in those warmup 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.

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