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BJ Watling doubtful for the opening Test against Windies

Tom Blundell might replace him behind the wickets.

BJ Watling
BJ Watling. (© Getty Images)

New Zealand wicketkeeper BJ Watling might miss the first Test of the two-match series against Windies starting on December 1. He suffered a hip injury while playing for Northern Districts against Central Stags in the ongoing Plunket Shield season. The three-match ODI and T20I series are also scheduled after the conclusion of the Test series. However, the injury to Watling is a blow to the hosts as he has been the part of the side since Brendon McCullum gave up his duty behind stumps.

Despite being rested for the next two games after sustaining the injury, Watling hasn’t recovered enough to be considered for the series. His batting down the order has often come in handy for the Kiwis as he has bailed the team out of trouble more often than not. He has been in involved in three of the six 200-run partnerships for the sixth wicket for New Zealand. This proves he is an important member of the team and the team would want him fit for the whole series.

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Tom Blundell might replace Watling

Tom Blundell, who made his international debut in a T20I against Bangladesh earlier this year, is expected to replace BJ Watling for the first Test. The selector Gavin Larsen cleared that the team management doesn’t want to take any chance on Watling’s injury. “He’s going well but he’s still a bit problematic with his hip. He’s been through the normal testing and is still feeling it just a bit,” he said. He also informed that the 32-year-old will be participating in the next round of the domestic tournament as a specialist batsman.

“It’s precautionary at this stage; he’ll bat in this game [this week] and we’re very hopeful he can wear the gloves in the round five Plunket Shield game. He’ll need to keep, most importantly for his own peace of mind and confidence,” he added. Blundell is the part of ‘A’ which will play a 3-day warmup game against the visiting team on November 25. Larsen hinted that they will keep a close eye on his performances as well. Tom Latham is also in the reckoning to take up the duties behind the stumps.

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