Fast bowler Matt Henry is set to make a highly anticipated return to international cricket in the upcoming five-match T20I series against Pakistan. This comes after a two-month hiatus due to a hamstring injury sustained during the ODI World Cup in India. Henry is scheduled to test his fitness for the Canterbury Kings in the Super Smash tournament on January 5 before joining the national team next week.
“I’m feeling good physically and looking forward to getting back out there and playing for New Zealand again. It’s been frustrating to be sidelined, but I’ve worked hard on my recovery, and I’m eager to contribute to the team’s success,” said Matt Henry, expressing his excitement about the comeback.
Captain Kane Williamson, who was initially slated to play the T20Is against Bangladesh but was later withdrawn as a precautionary measure to manage his workload, will lead the team. However, he will sit out the third T20I in Dunedin, with Mitchell Santner taking over the captaincy for that match.
“I’m pleased to be back with the team and am looking forward to leading them in this series. It’s important for us to build momentum ahead of the T20 World Cup, and I’m confident in the squad’s abilities,” stated Kane Williamson, highlighting the team’s focus on the T20 World Cup.
The 13-man squad also includes the return of opener Devon Conway, who was rested for the Bangladesh series, and Lockie Ferguson, who is set to make a comeback for the final three games after recovering from an Achilles injury. However, Ferguson’s return means that young fast bowler Ben Sears will only be available for the first two matches of the series.
Notably absent from the squad are Kyle Jamieson, who is still rehabilitating a hamstring injury, and Michael Bracewell, who is recovering from an Achilles injury. Additionally, Trent Boult and James Neesham will miss out due to their commitments in the T20 circuit.
Head coach Gary Stead expressed the importance of these T20I series as crucial preparation for the upcoming T20 World Cup, highlighting the significance of having experienced players like Henry, Conway, Ferguson, and Williamson back in the squad.
“Having players of their caliber back in the team is a huge boost for us. These matches will provide us with valuable insights and help fine-tune our strategies ahead of the T20 World Cup,” commented Gary Stead, emphasizing the team’s focus on using these matches as preparation for the global tournament.
The series is scheduled to kick off with the first game at Eden Park on January 12. With just three T20I series left before the T20 World Cup, these matches will be pivotal in shaping New Zealand‘s preparations for the global tournament.