Southee to miss Proteas Tests

21 December 2012 06:52:09 EST

New Zealand have been handed another big blow in the run-up to the Test series against South Africa, with seamer Tim Southee being ruled out.

The 24-year-old suffered extensive damage to his thumb this week, and will need an operation. It is another setback for the Black Caps, who are already without former captain Ross Taylor.

He's a real leader of the attack even at such a young age, so he's going to be a huge loss.

Brendon McCullum

Taylor's successor Brendon McCullum acknowledged that taking on the world's No.1 ranked team was a difficult enough prospect even without the loss of Southee.

Not only is Southee a strike bowler, who took 8-120 in the win over Sri Lanka last month, but he adds an extra element to the batting line-up as he showed when making 156 for Northern Districts against Wellington.

McCullum said: "Tim's been our No 1 bowler in test cricket for the last wee while, and also the one-dayers as well, he's a real leader of the attack even at such a young age, so he's going to be a huge loss.

"Our thoughts are with him because I know he had a keen eye on this series, to test himself out against some of the world's best bowlers in (Morne) Morkel, (Dale) Steyn and the like.

"I guess what it does do is give somebody else an opportunity, so we'll welcome whoever that is."

Black Caps physiotherapist Paul Close said of Southee: "He landed heavily on his thumb while fielding, with scans indicating the ligament has fully ruptured and retracted.

"After consultation with NZC medical staff and a hand specialist it was decided the best course of action is for him to have surgery.
 
"He will commence rehabilitation immediately following the procedure, with a view to him returning to cricket during the home summer.

"The procedure is likely to keep him out of the game for 6-8 weeks."

Southee's injury puts him in doubt for the start of the England tour and propels South African-born Neil Wagner and veteran Chris Martin into contention for the two tests in South Africa.

Meanwhile Australia are 1212/1 to win the 2014 World Twenty20, with India 8/11 and Pakistan 1212/1.

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