Cricket World Cup 2023: New Zealand quick Tim Southee elects for surgery in race for fitness
Decision on Tim Southee's availability for Cricket World Cup 2023 will be made next week after the fast bowler elected to undergo surgery for a dislocated and fractured thumb he sustained on New Zealand's tour of England.
New Zealand Cricket confirmed the news on Wednesday afternoon after Southee sustained the injury in the final ODI on Saturday at Lord's, and the 34-year-old's selection will likely be determined by doctors after evaluating the success of the procedure.
With the team sweating on a number of injuries, coach Gary Stead is hopeful Southee can recover in time.
"We’ve got our fingers crossed that the surgery goes well for Tim," Stead began.
"He’ll have some pins or screws inserted in his right thumb and, providing the procedure is a success, it will be a matter of ensuring Tim can tolerate the pain and manage the actual wound when returning to train and play."
New Zealand begin their Cricket World Cup campaign on 5 October in Ahmedabad, with the date a "logical target" for Southee to meet according to Stead.
"Tim’s obviously a hugely experienced and important figure in our team."
"We want to give him every chance to be part of this World Cup campaign."
New Zealand are battling several issues in the build up to Cricket World Cup 2023, with Daryl Mitchell also sending a scare through the camp when he walked off the field in the same match as Southee, albeit with a minor finger injury that should be of no impact to the all-rounder.
The Black Caps will also be mindful of Kane Williamson’s fitness, having come back from a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his right knee. The ODI skipper is in New Zealand’s Cricket World Cup squad, though is yet to play in competitive action since sustaining the injury.
New Zealand are currently in Bangladesh for a three-match ODI series, beginning on Thursday in Mirpur, before Cricket World Cup warm-up matches against Pakistan in Hyderabad on 29 September, and South Africa in Trivandrum on 2 October.