Black Caps wicketkeeper Tom Latham is in doubt for the start of the Cricket World Cup after fracturing his finger in a warm-up game against Australia last week.

Latham was keeping early in the innings of the final of the New Zealand XI's three warm-up games in Brisbane when he took a delivery on the end of his middle finger on his left hand.

An X-ray revealed a small fracture, leaving Latham frustratingly sidelined ahead of the pinnacle event – and potentially for the first few games of the Cup.

Latham will still travel to the United Kingdom with the Black Caps on Sunday afternoon, and explained to D'Arcy Waldegrave on Radio Sport how the injury occurred.

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"I was just keeping to Matt Henry – a ball down the legside, I dived for it and didn't quite get it in the gloves properly. I kept keeping for a few overs, then I took my glove off and my finger wasn't quite in the right direction – very disappointing but the good thing is I should be okay."

How quickly Latham will recover though is the big question, with the 27-year-old unable to practice his batting or keeping until the Black Caps land in the UK.

"This week and next week are going to be pretty important in terms of recovery – once we get over there we'll certainly start to progress things in holding a bat and catching balls. Certainly this isn't ideal timing," acknowledged Latham.

"It's just about making sure the bone starts to heal. It's hard to put a timeframe on it until we start catching balls with the gloves on, then we should start to know more. It's a bit of a waiting game at the moment.

"But it's certainly feeling better and better each day, which is a positive sign."

Tom Latham. Photo / Photosport
Tom Latham. Photo / Photosport

Latham is a crucial component of the Black Caps batting lineup, having been in solid form over the recent summer, and a reliable operator at number five in the order.

He passed 30 in four of his five ODI knocks in 2019 – all in reasonable time, rotating the strike well, and he is capable of keeping the run rate high, or recovering the innings if the Black Caps lose early wickets at the World Cup.

If Latham is ruled out of any of the Black Caps' early matches, Tom Blundell will slot straight in as wicketkeeper and number five, and although he is uncapped in ODIs, he would have gained confidence from hitting 77 in one of the warm-up games in Brisbane.

Latham also could pinpoint some positives from the Australian warm-up tour.

"We got a lot of information on the Australian side, for when we do come up against them later in the tournament."

Australia are the Black Caps' penultimate opponent in the group stage, and hopefully for them, Latham will be back to his best well before then.