New Zealand's pace attack has been dealt another blow ahead of the third Test in Hamilton against South Africa with the confirmation that Trent Boult will be unable to play after failing to recover from a groin injury that had kept him out of the second Test in Wellington. Boult sustained the injury in the first Test match in Dunedin.
Scott Kuggeleijn has been called in as cover after Lockie Ferguson was unavailable due to an injury sustained in the Plunket Shield. In November last year, Kuggeleign made himself unavailable for national selection after he was charged with rape. He was eventually found not guilty when the verdict was read on February 27. It was Kuggeleijn's second trial relating to an incident that occurred on May 17, 2015 after the jury in the first trial could not reach a verdict. Kuggeleijn returned to the Northern Districts side after the February verdict and currently sits third on the Plunket Shield wickets tally with 31 at 25.48.
Boult's injury means that New Zealand are down to two frontline quicks in Neil Wagner and Matt Henry after it was announced on Thursday that Tim Southee would be sidelined with a hamstring tear. Wagner has played in both Tests and is New Zealand's leading wicket-taker in the series with nine at 29.44, while Henry has not played a match so far. Henry's last Test was against Pakistan in November last year at Seddon Park.
At the other end of their line-up, New Zealand are without their most experienced batsman Ross Taylor, who suffered a calf tear in the first Test and was unfit to participate in the remaining two. Boult and Southee have IPL contracts but there is no word on whether these injuries will affect their participation in this tournament.
"Trent did everything possible to get himself ready for this Test and is extremely disappointed to be missing out," selector Gavin Larsen said. "While he has made good progress, after training yesterday we spoke with medical staff and it was agreed that Trent required a little further time to be ready for the demands of Test cricket. Not having Trent or Tim available tests the depth of our squad, but we're confident of the job that Neil and Matt can do for us."
New Zealand will likely choose between three of the five quicks available to them, which includes allrounders Colin de Grandhomme and James Neesham, and play both specialist spinners, Jeetan Patel and Mitchell Santner on what is expected to be a slow, turning surface. The two tweakers also featured in the Dunedin match, at the expense of Southee, who returned in Boult's place in Wellington.
Since Trent Boult's debut in December 2011, New Zealand have only played three Tests without both Boult and Southee. Two of them were against South Africa in the 2012 series, including the Hamilton match which decided the series.
South Africa have an injury concern of their own. Quinton de Kock suffered damage to a tendon on his right index finger and could need up to six weeks on the sidelines. A late call will be taken on de Kock's availability on Friday afternoon.