New Zealand wicket-keeper BJ Watling has been ruled out of the second Test against England at Edgbaston after failing to overcome a sore back, team management have announced.
Watling’s withdrawal was made public less than half an hour before Thursday’s scheduled touch, with Wellington Firebirds wicket-keeper/batsman Tom Blundell taking the gloves and batting at six in his 11th Test.
“The injury has troubled Watling in the past and although it has improved in the past 24 hours, it hasn’t improved enough to be confident of him getting through a full Test behind the stumps,” a New Zealand Cricket statement said.
Watling had previously announced he would retire from all cricket following New Zealand’s appearance in next week’s inaugural World Test Championship final against India at Southampton.
It was not immediately clear from Thursday’s statement, however, if the 35-year-old Durban-born gloveman would be fit for that match.
Watling’s absence forced New Zealand into making yet another change to the side that played in the drawn first Test of a two-match series against England at Lord’s last week, with captain Kane Williamson (elbow) and spinner Mitchell Santner (cut finger) already ruled out through injury.
Tom Latham will captain the side in Williamson’s absence, with Will Young, who has made two first-class hundreds for English county side Durham this season, coming into the side at number three in place of the world’s top-ranked Test batsman.
New Zealand are set to welcome back Trent Boult into the side after he missed the first Test having taken family leave following the suspension of the Indian Premier League.
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