Lockie Ferguson is back on the pitch – but a swift return to the Black Caps is still in doubt.

Ferguson, who will be watching from afar as the Black Caps play their final ODI against India at Mount Maunganui tomorrow, hasn't played for New Zealand since their test series opener in Perth, where he suffered a muscle-tendon strain in his right calf while bowling.

The 28-year-old speedster made it through 11 overs in what was his test debut before being ruled out of the side since.

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Having eased back into club cricket late last month, Ferguson made his domestic return for Auckland yesterday in the Ford Trophy, with the aim of being fit and available for the first test against India starting next Friday.

He was pleased with how things were tracking but insisted that stepping back onto the international scene could take some time.

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"This was one of the steps, to see how I go in a domestic one-day so it went well but certainly the intensity steps up quite significantly going into an international match," Ferguson told Radio Sport.

Lockie Ferguson sits sidelined in a moon boot. Photo / Photosport
Lockie Ferguson sits sidelined in a moon boot. Photo / Photosport

"I've been playing a lot of cricket over the last three weeks with a conservative approach to building the intensity back up. With calves, I didn't realise how much work they do when you've got to walk [and] jog, and with these kinds of tears, it's important just to build the load back up and give it time to heal.

"It's feeling pretty good so we'll just keep taking these steps forward and hopefully, it's all positive."

It was far from a dream return to the domestic game for Ferguson result-wise, with Auckland falling to their biggest-ever Ford Trophy defeat with a 210-run loss to Otago.

Lockie Ferguson during his return in the Ford Trophy. Photo / Photosport
Lockie Ferguson during his return in the Ford Trophy. Photo / Photosport

Ferguson, however, wasn't concerned ahead of Sunday's grand final, where Auckland will play the winner of Thursday's elimination final between Otago and Canterbury.

"Nothing really changes, we've got a really good culture at Auckland at the moment where we work really hard as a unit and put a lot of pressure on each other at training," he said.


"Fortunately we'll be playing the next game at Eden Park ... it can be one of those intimidating grounds sometimes for bowlers, and batters can feel the pressure having to score quickly, but obviously being our home ground we've played a lot of cricket there so we can take a lot of confidence into Sunday."

With Ferguson still easing back into top-level cricket, the Black Caps have looked elsewhere for reinforcements ahead of the final ODI against India tomorrow. Spinner Ish Sodhi and seamer Blair Tickner have been plucked out of the NZ A side and called into the ODI squad as cover, after Tim Southee, Mitchell Santner and Scott Kuggeleijn were struck down with illness in the second ODI.

Black Caps captain Kane Williamson is expected to return to the side after missing the first two ODIs, after successfully taking a full part in training this afternoon.