Tim Southee, the New Zealand pacer, has been ruled out of the Twenty20 International (T20I) series against Pakistan due to a foot injury, which might also affect his participation in the series against Australia starting next month.
Southee, who injured his left foot during the third One-Day International (ODI) against Sri Lanka on December 31, missed the two T20Is against the same side. While he was hoping to take part in the three-match against Pakistan, the injury is more serious than first thought, according to Craig McMillan, New Zealand's batting coach.
"I think it might be ... a little bit. It's something that will take a wee while to get right. I'm not exactly sure of the time-frame, whether it's two to three weeks, as to where he is at. The plan in place, fingers crossed, is that hopefully he'll be back for the end of the season," McMillan told Newstalk ZB, while expressing hope that the pacer will be fit for the Australia series.
"It's not that far away, but the plan is to have him back firing for the Australia series."
With Southee facing a race against time to be fit for the Australia series, Trent Boult will have to shoulder the bulk of the responsibility in the pace department, while he will have support from the likes of Matt Henry, Doug Bracewell and Neil Wagner.
Henry took 13 wickets at an average of 9.38 in the ODI series against Sri Lanka and McMillan, who was pleased with the form of the 24-year-old, said: "It's reassuring to have those options. One of the great things from this series against Sri Lanka has been the form of Matt Henry. That shows a confidence to come into the set-up and perform straight away."
The limited-overs series between New Zealand and Pakistan kicks off on Friday (January 15) with the first T20I in Auckland. The two sides will also face off in three ODIs following the T20Is.
New Zealand's series against Australia starts on February 3. The Trans-Tasman rivals will battle in three ODIs for the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy, preceding the two-Test series, which begins on February 12.