Kopar Khairane

Before the South Africa Tests, the head coach of New Zealand gives an update on Kane Williamson’s return

<p>After missing games in the five-game Twenty20 International series against Pakistan due to a hamstring injury, ace batsman Kane Williamson will likely be healthy for the next Test series against South Africa, according to New Zealand head coach Gary Stead.</p>
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<p>The two-match Test series between New Zealand and South Africa is scheduled to begin on February 4 at Mount Maunganui. Williamson only played in the two games against Pakistan prior to suffering a hamstring injury that prevented him from playing the whole series.</p>
<p>Williamson will begin training in the next few days, Stead revealed, adding that the team would give the batter “every chance” to be eligible for selection.</p>
<p>“I have no doubt that he will be OK. It was a little ache, so that’s fantastic news. He probably has one or two more days before he resumes training. Therefore, we didn’t want to irritate it more and didn’t see the need to do so with the significant upcoming series. We want to make sure we’ve given him every opportunity to be available because we realize how important he is,” ESPNcricinfo cited Stead as saying.</p>
<p>Stead also made a suggestion that veteran bowler Trent Boult, who is free agent after choosing not to renew his primary contract with New Zealand Cricket, will probably play in the T20I series against Australia the following month.</p>
<p>Actually, yesterday night [Saturday], I was messaging him. This week, Trent and I are going to talk about the future—what that means for him, and where it fits in for both of us. We will connect this week and work out, but they are still on the agenda. “I’m not sure, but he might be available,” Stead said.</p>
<p>Boult’s lack of first-class and red-ball game experience means he won’t play in the Test series against South Africa.</p>
<p>“Once again, I will speak with Trent, but just now, I doubt it will be. It’s rather difficult to see how someone who hasn’t played cricket before can go from a T20 diet back into Test consideration,” he said.</p>
<p>Even though several of the key players are rested for the visit, Stead is not taking the South Africa team lightly.</p>
<p>“I can assure you one thing with South Africa – the team they bring here will still have experience and they will be hardened guys who have played quite a bit of first-class cricket,” Stead said.</p>
<p>“They’ll also have a point to make—’Hey, we should be here,’ they would argue—and I believe it makes them just as dangerous as having a whole side in this. We won’t be taking them lightly, for sure. Our task is to defeat them in a Test series, like we have never done before,” he said.</p>