The Black Caps' luck just keeps getting worse.
Captain Kane Williamson has been ruled out of the first two ODIs against India, continuing a horrendous run for a side at risk of compiling their all-time longest losing streak.
Williamson had already missed the final two Twenty20s against India after suffering a left shoulder injury in the field during the third Twenty20 in Hamilton, and the inflamed AC joint is still causing issues.
"Kane has had an X-ray scan which cleared him of anything serious, but it's best for his recovery that he avoids aggravating the joint for the next few days," said Black Caps physio Vijay Vallabh.
"He will continue his fitness training sessions throughout the week and will start batting again on Friday with the prospect of being available for game three next Tuesday."
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Williamson's opposite – Indian captain Virat Kohli – said he was "quite surprised" by his absence.
"He said he felt better, but I know with the AC joint – I've had it as well – unless you get into the action it's very difficult to make a judgement of how much pain you feel. Especially for a batsman, if the shoulder's not right, it can really hurt you."
Williamson joins a notable list of Black Caps stars sidelined for the series which starts tomorrow, with seam trio Trent Boult (broken hand), Matt Henry (broken thumb) and Lockie Ferguson (calf strain) all out injured, leaving the Black Caps without the core of their ODI side which shone at the World Cup.
It will make their prospects of avoiding unwanted history even tougher, with the Black Caps having lost eight straight games across all formats – just two shy of tying the longest losing streak, set in 1994-1995.
In-form Auckland left-hander Mark Chapman, fresh off back-to-back centuries for New Zealand A in one-day and four-day games against India A, joined the squad as Williamson's replacement.
Chapman, who played three ODIs for New Zealand against England in 2018, making one, eight, and zero, will battle Tom Blundell to replace Williamson. If Chapman is picked, he will likely slot in at No 3, while there is the option of giving Blundell the wicketkeeping gloves, and moving Tom Latham to open alongside Martin Guptill, with Henry Nicholls dropping down a spot.
"It's great to welcome Mark back into the one-day unit. Mark's a versatile player who can cover multiple batting positions and his fielding is a real upshot to have in the squad," said Black Caps selector Gavin Larsen.
"It's disappointing for Kane, but with so much important cricket still ahead this summer we must take a safety first approach," Larsen added.
Latham – himself only recently returning from injury – will captain the side in Williamson's absence, while bowling coach Shane Jurgensen is standing in as head coach, with Gary Stead taking a planned break ahead of the test series.
Despite the questionable optics of a head coach temporarily leaving his post during a heavy losing streak, Jurgensen denied there was any temptation to change those plans and keep Stead in charge.
"I've been planning to look after this series for a while - Gary's taking a well-earned break for the week. It's been happening throughout the summer, I've had breaks, other coaches have had breaks, to freshen up and get ready for the other challenges ahead, after this series."