Chris Rattue is a sports columnist for the New Zealand Herald.

Black Caps: Jimmy Neesham out for remainder of series against India

Jimmy Neesham is unlikely to take any part in the remainder of the test series against India due to injury. Photo / John Cowpland
Jimmy Neesham is unlikely to take any part in the remainder of the test series against India due to injury. Photo / John Cowpland

New Zealand's efforts to bounce back against India are being affected by injury with all rounder Jimmy Neesham unlikely to be fit for the remaining two tests in India.

New Zealand has called up veteran off-spinner Jeetan Patel to replace Mark Craig, who is out of the series with a side strain suffered during the 197-run first test loss in Kanpur.

Neesham missed the first test because of a rib injury received in the nets but was initially rated a good chance for the second test in Kolkata.

But coach Mike Hesson told The Crowd Goes Wild: "Jimmy is still struggling unfortunately and might miss out on the third test yet".

The 36-year-old Patel's last test was in 2013, against South Africa, and he has an unimpressive bowling average in the high 40s, with 52 wickets in 19 tests.

But he has had a very good season for Warwickshire, and Hesson said his experience would be invaluable. New Zealand seem certain to continue with their three-spinner strategy.

"We wanted another offspinner in the group, with the foot holes that will be there again in Kolkata.

The Kolkata pitch had been low and slow with a reasonable amount of turn during the T20 World Cup, Hesson said.

"It's going to be hot and humid again and the pitch will deteriorate pretty quickly," he said.

"A lot of (spin bowling) is about the pace you bowl.

"In New Zealand, because the wickets don't turn, we try to beat batsmen in the air. They don't even contemplate that here - they try to beat you off the wicket.

"And if you are unable to score runs, they create more pressure by putting more and more fielders around the bat."

Hesson was non-committal about embattled opener Martin Guptill - he scored 21 and nought - except to say he was in a "really good frame of mind and it's important we keep it that way".

India are enjoying one of their best runs at home, with 10 victories and two draws from their last 12 tests.

Hesson said Luke Ronchi and Mitchell Santner were the obvious positives from the test. Santner is the first Kiwi to score more than 100 runs and take at least five wickets in a test since Daniel Vettori five years ago.

Hesson said :"We are not smacking each other over and talking about all the bad things. We got confidence from large parts of the test."

The second test starts on Friday.

- NZ Herald

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