Southee lined up for Test return

02 February 2013 04:38:53 EST

New Zealand are confident that seamer Tim Southee will recover from a thumb injury in time to feature in the three-Test series against England in March.

Alastair Cook's England may have to face Tim Southee in the Test series.

The 24-year-old will miss the upcoming Twenty20 and one-day series after being injured while playing for Northern Districts just before Christmas, but hopes to be fit and raring to go when the Test action gets underway in Dunedin on 5th March.

National selection manager Kim Littlejohn said: "We're hoping he'll be ready to play in the Test series.

"The next couple of weeks in terms of his rehab will tell, but medical reports are he's going really well at the moment.

"He broke his thumb rather badly and ruptured a tendon, but he's progressing really well through the rehab.

"It's just a case of we want to be overly cautious with Tim because of his importance to us in all forms of the game. So we're not prepared to rush him back at this stage."

Southee has played in 21 Test matches to date, taking 65 wickets at an average of 35.04, while his top score of 77 not out came on debut against England at Napier in March 2008.

The Black Caps, minus Southee, start the visit of England with three T20 internationals and are 7/2 to win the 20-over series, with the tourists 1/5.

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