New Zealand head coach Gary Stead revealed on Tuesday that wicketkeeper-batsman BJ Watling has suffered a hamstring niggle. He picked up the strain in the opening round of the local Ford Trophy on Sunday.
Watling will remain an uncertain starter until the eve of New Zealand's first Test against West Indies on 3rd December. The management has included Devon Conway as a back-up but batsman Will Young looks poised to make his debut for New Zealand ahead of him.
Coach Gary Stead with an injury update ahead of the Test squad’s first full training at Seddon Park. Devon Conway has traveled to Hamilton to join the squad as batting cover with BJ Watling monitoring a hamstring injury picked up in the opening round of the Ford Trophy. #NZvWI pic.twitter.com/IhRFyPJOCZ
— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) December 1, 2020
Stead said that if Watling is ultimately ruled out, opener Tom Blundell will be handed the gloves and will bat at number six. Young will then be set to make his debut at the top.
Will Young and Devon Conway shine in New Zealand's domestic competitions
All done at @BayOvalOfficial. Still raining and not enough time to get a game in. Captains shake hands with a damp end to the KFC T20 Series and the team taking it 2-0 #NZvWI pic.twitter.com/RQpvV8qWHy
— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) November 30, 2020
Both Will Young and Devon Conway have been accumulating a truckload of runs in first-class competitions in New Zealand.
Young, who averages 43.76, has been the back-up batsman in the Black Caps set-up for a couple of years now. He was set to make his debut last year before the Christchurch fixture against Bangladesh was canceled due to mosque bombings in the city.
During a couple of 3-day warm-up games before the Test matches, Young came out with scores of 27, 64 not out and 133, showing good technique and control.
Meanwhile, Conway has been one step ahead of Young with his average of 47.54. He has topped New Zealand's Plunket Shield run charts in the past three seasons since arriving from South Africa. The 29-year-old southpaw also looked at ease in his T20I series debut, hitting 41 and 65 not out against West Indies.
With his international record of eight hundreds and 18 half-centuries, with an average of around 40, the Black Caps will surely miss Watling at the crucial lower-order position when they take on Jason Holder's side from 3rd to 7th December and from 11th to 15th December.