New Zealand on Tuesday ruled injured captain Kane Williamson out of the opening two one-dayers against India, while the tourists appeared set to lose star batsman Rohit Sharma. Williamson’s absence will be a major blow to the Black Caps, who go into the first ODI in Hamilton on Wednesday low on confidence after a 5-0 whitewash in the Twenty20 series.
Team physio Vijay Vallabh said Williamson was struggling to shrug off a shoulder injury that kept him out of the final two T20 fixtures. He said Williamson would definitely miss the opening two ODIs but hoped to return for the third and final match of the series in Mount Maunganui next week. “Kane has had an X-ray scan which cleared him of anything serious, but it’s best for his recovery that he avoids aggravating the joint for the next few days,” he said.
Selectors named Tom Latham as stand-in captain and called up Mark Chapman, who scored back-to back centuries against India A last week, to reinforce the batting. Meanwhile, Sharma appears set to miss the rest of the tour after retiring hurt in the fifth T20 on Sunday.
Sharma blasted 60 from 41 balls in the match but limped off after twisting his left leg late in India’s innings. Indian media reported he had torn a calf muscle and would take no part in the three ODIs and two Tests yet to be played in New Zealand. The reports said Mayank Agarwal would replace Sharma in the ODI squad and Shubman Gill would take his spot in the Test squad.
India are second in the ODI rankings, with New Zealand on third.
The match in Hamilton will be New Zealand’s first ODI since the World Cup final in July last year, which ended with scores tied and England winning because they hit more boundaries. The Black Caps eliminated the heavily favoured Indians in the tournament semi-final and the tourists will be keen to avenge the loss.