Daryl Mitchell cleared for New Zealand’s T20 World Cup campaign

WELLINGTON (Reuters): All-rounder Daryl Mitchell will be retained in New Zealand’s squad for the T20 World Cup in Australia and may recover in time from a broken finger for the Black Caps’ first game on October 22 against the hosts.

Mitchell fractured the little finger on his right-hand last week and was ruled out of the ongoing tri-series at home against Pakistan and Bangladesh.

New Zealand head coach Gary Stead said Mitchell had a positive prognosis after scans on his injury.

“We’re still hopeful he might be right for the first game but probably more realistically in the second game,” Stead told reporters on Monday.

New Zealand, runners-up to Australia last year in the United Arab Emirates, face Afghanistan in the second match on October 26 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

A seam bowling, middle-order batsman, Mitchell had a cast on his hand on Monday but said it was a massive relief to be cleared for the World Cup.

“It’s just a matter of getting rid of the pain. Hopefully that will go away over the next couple of weeks,” he told reporters.

Paceman Lockie Ferguson, who missed last year’s World Cup due to a calf tear, is also under a cloud in the lead-up to Australia after suffering an abdominal injury.

Stead said he was unlikely to feature in the home tri-series but was “tracking well” for the World Cup.

Fast bowler Adam Milne was also cleared of major damage after an injury scare in New Zealand’s eight-wicket win over Bangladesh in Christchurch on Sunday.

Playing in his first competitive match since March after recovering from an Achilles injury, Milne came off with a minor abdominal strain after bowling two overs.

Stead said it was purely precautionary, though, and Milne could feature in the next World Cup warm-up against Pakistan in Christchurch on Tuesday.