Cricket: Injury major dent in subcontinental tour

By David Leggat

Kane Williamson fractured his left thumb fielding yesterday.Picture / AP
Kane Williamson fractured his left thumb fielding yesterday.Picture / AP

Kane Williamson heading home, the team's two senior figures sitting out the upcoming series in Sri Lanka and a stand-in captain yet to be named for that trip; New Zealand's sub-continental limited-overs programme has the potential to go badly wrong.

Williamson, who fractured his left thumb fielding during Bangladesh's 43-run win - under a Duckworth Lewis recalculation - in Dhaka yesterday, will be replaced by wicketkeeper-batsman Luke Ronchi, with another player to be added for Sri Lanka.

The captaincy heir apparent is facing six weeks on the sideline, which would rule him out of at least the first West Indies test in early December.

Otago play Canterbury at Rangiora starting on November 19. Another hefty load of runs from Jesse Ryder there, after his century against Wellington this week, and the drums will beat louder for an earlier-than-anticipated return to the national team for the talented lefthander.

Captain Brendon McCullum and Ross Taylor come home after Bangladesh to prepare for the West Indies tour. The second ODI, also at the Shere Bangla Stadium tonight, is shaping as a crucial match for the immediate future of this tour.

How Bangladesh must relish New Zealand coming to their place.

New Zealand have not won a game of any sort in Bangladesh since October 2008. Since then they have drawn three tests and lost all five ODIs.

The tourists have stumbled badly and must avoid the banana skin lying just around the corner tonight.

Their bowling wasn't good enough yesterday, save Tim Southee's impressive return from injury. When fast bowler Rubel Hossain became the second Bangladeshi bowler to take six wickets in an ODI, including the country's third hat-trick - and second against New Zealand in three matches - the game was up.

Senior seamer Kyle Mills and young speedster Adam Milne should get a start tonight, while Williamson's absence - compensated for by a tidy 71 from Grant Elliott filling in at No 3 - will force a batting recalibration.

What would help New Zealand is seeing their skipper make some runs. His first-ball duck as part of Hossain's hat-trick means McCullum has scored just 230 runs in his last 14 innings in all forms, going back to the end of a strong home test series against England in March. His average in that time is 17 and only twice has he gone past 25.

- NZ Herald

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