Cricket World Cup-2019

‘He’s slightly ahead of time’ – Black Caps confident of Latham fitness ahead of CWC19 opener

Tom Latham

Latham had been a doubt for his side’s opening game after breaking his finger during a warm-up game in Australia earlier this month.

While he is yet to play a game since the injury, the 27-year-old took full part in a training session on Thursday, 30 May, and remains on track to be available for selection for New Zealand’s first World Cup game, against Sri Lanka on Saturday, 1 June.

Stead was quietly confident about Latham's fitness

Stead was quietly confident about Latham’s fitness

“He’s probably slightly ahead of time,” said Gary Stead, the New Zealand head coach. “So far Tom’s reached all the milestones that we’ve wanted him to, and today was another step, taking balls with more heat on them and making him dive and jump around a wee bit more. It’s a bit bent from what happened, but he’s had no pain so far, which means the bone has knitted back well.”

However, both Stead and Latham preached caution, explaining that how Latham’s finger reacts to the training session is as important as the fact that he got through it. “It’s nice to get through training today but we’ll still wait and see how it pulls up tonight and tomorrow,” Latham explained.

Blundell appears ready to deputise for Latham if needed

Blundell appears ready to deputise for Latham if needed

If Latham does need more time to recover, the Black Caps will feel assured due to the form of their back-up keeper, Tom Blundell. Though he’s yet to make his ODI debut, the youngster scored a century in New Zealand’s final warm-up game against West Indies, and looks set to step up if needed.

“He played a fantastic innings,” acknowledged Latham. “Even the way he went in Australia before we came over here, he’s certainly hitting the ball really well and the ball looks like it’s going into the gloves nicely. It’s a nice confidence boost for him to get some runs against a good West Indies attack and Australia as well.”

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