Black Caps bowler Lockie Ferguson won't be appearing on the international scene until at least November, after being ruled out of New Zealand's Twenty20 series against Sri Lanka with a fractured thumb.
Ferguson fractured his right thumb at training, a day before he was set to return to international cricket following his excellent showing at the Cricket World Cup.
The 28-year-old sustained the injury while fielding a ball at practice at the Pallekele Cricket Stadium, with an x-ray later revealing a small fracture to the middle joint.
Coach Gary Stead confirmed Ferguson would return home to New Zealand in the coming days.
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"It's a shame for Lockie to have to miss this series, especially coming off the back of such an impressive World Cup campaign in England," he said.
"The thumb has been put in a splint and is expected to take four to six weeks to recover."
There are worse times to get injured, as while Ferguson will miss three Twenty20 clashes, the Black Caps don't play another international match for two months, with Stead hoping to have the Auckland right-armer available for their next slate of games.
"We're optimistic he'll be available for the five-game T20 series against England."
That series starts on November 1, with Ferguson likely needing to get top-level bowling under his belt ahead of a possible appearance in the Black Caps' two-match test series against England, which begins on November 21.
The speedster is expected to make his test debut this summer, with the English series a strong option to introduce Ferguson to test cricket, ahead of a much-anticipated three-test series in Australia in December and January.
The Black Caps have opted not to name a replacement for Ferguson, with seamers Tim Southee, Scott Kuggeleijn and Seth Rance all playing in the opening Twenty20 in Pallekele this morning, and a 13-man squad to be picked from for the following clashes on Wednesday and Saturday morning.