Kane Williamson has been ruled out of the first cricket test against the West Indies starting today, allowing Aaron Redmond to revive a test career which stalled five years ago.
Captain Brendon McCullum said yesterday it has been decided not to risk Williamson, who was forced out of New Zealand's recent tour to Bangladesh with a broken thumb.
Williamson was last week was given a 95 per cent chance of playing in the test at University Oval by selection manager Bruce Edgar.
McCullum says Williamson, who bats at No3, "probably could have played" but it had been decided not to rush his return. The decision means a recall for Redmond, who played the most-recent of his seven tests against Australia in 2008.
"It as a tough decision but in the end it was a touch too early for Kane," McCullum said.
"He batted yesterday in the nets and didn't feel a great deal of discomfort batting. But just with doing some fielding then having to go back in the nets, it just started to stiffen up a little bit.
"He probably could have played. But in the grand scheme of the season we've got in front of us and how valuable he is to us, we saw it as a more safe option to let him miss this one and have another week to recover."
Redmond, the son of former test batsman Rodney Redmond who was dropped after scoring a century and half century on test debut, won his recall through prolific run-scoring in New Zealand domestic first-class matches this season. He is averaging 67.75 for Otago with a highest score of 154.
At test level, Redmond averages 23 with a top score of 83 made in his last test against Australia at Adelaide.
Fast bowler Doug Bracewell has been named 12th man for the first test of the three-match series against the West Indies, allowing both legspinner Ish Sodhi and allrounder Corey Anderson to play their first tests at home. Both made their test debuts during the recent series in Bangladesh.
McCullum said New Zealand considered taking four fast bowlers into the test on a pitch that might be lively on the opening day.
But the University Oval usually becomes placid as a test progresses and McCullum said New Zealand had to pick a team for five days, not just for the opening day.AP