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New Zealand taking cautious approach with ‘asset’ Jamieson

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WELLINGTON: New Zeal­and paceman Kyle Jamieson is likely to play only in the opening pink ball Test against England in the two-match series as staff take a cautious approach with the recovering quick.

The towering 28-year-old was named in his first Test squad since injuring his back on the tour of England last year, interrupting a sensational start in the longest format.

New Zealand head coach Gary Stead said selectors did not want to risk putting Jamieson in a “compromising” position by having him play both Tests while easing back in.

“We’ve still got important matches coming up through the rest of the year,” Stead told reporters on Friday. “We’ve selected a squad of 14 so we think we’ve got cover for all the options that we’re going to need.

“He’s obviously an important asset to us and there’s no doubt what he’s done at the start of his career has been pretty amazing.”

Jamieson, who has raced to 72 wickets in 16 Tests at an average of 19.45, joins a pace unit featuring captain Tim Southee, Matt Henry, Neil Wagner and uncapped quick Blair Tickner.

The series starts with the day-night Test at Bay Oval in Tauranga from Feb. 16, with the second match at Wellingtons Basin Reserve from Feb. 24.

Jamieson said he had been through a “whole range of emotions” while recovering from his back problem but was feeling energised and ready to take the new ball if called upon.

“If and when that time comes to put the Test baggy (cap) back on, it’ll be great,” he told reporters.

Rejuvenated England, under the watch of head coach and former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum, whitewashed New Zealand 3-0 in the home series last year.

Inaugural World Test Championship winners in 2021, New Zealand hit a wall last year and are winless from their last five Test series.

England have been on fire, though, winning three of their last four with their attacking “Bazball” game.

Stead said it was exciting to face England on relatively bouncy home pitches but gave short shrift to the idea New Zealand needed to lift their aggression to match the Ben Stokes-led side.

“There’s no point in us talking to our players about going out and playing an aggressive brand of cricket if it’s not their natural style,” he said. “We will still play our way of aggression — but it will be in our way.”

Published in Dawn, February 4th, 2023


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