A disturbing sequence of events during the fourth ODI against England could potentially impact New Zealand's chances in the upcoming ODI World Cup 2023. Veteran pacer Tim Southee has suffered a significant injury while attempting a catch of Joe Root in the game. Scans have confirmed that Southee dislocated and fractured a bone in his right thumb during the game at Lord's on Friday. The injury occurred during the 14th over of the game and Southee, visibly in trouble, walked off the field accompanied by the medical team.
The senior quick did not return to the field for the remainder of England's innings. Trent Boult replaced him as a substitute fielder. Southee later left the ground to undergo further scans, and a timeline for his recovery will be established after additional assessments on September 16, 2023 according to a tweet from the Blackcaps official handle.
Injury Update | An x-ray has confirmed that Tim Southee dislocated and fractured a bone in his right thumb while attempting to take a catch in the 14th over of the 1st innings. A timeline for his recovery will be established tomorrow when he undergoes further assessment. #ENGvNZ pic.twitter.com/74zT4t9pGc— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) September 15, 2023
Tim Southee blow ahead of World Cup 2023?
The injury comes just over two weeks away from their World Cup opener against England in Ahmedabad. Southee's participation in what would be his fourth ODI World Cup now hangs in the balance. New Zealand will be keenly awaiting further medical assessments to determine whether Southee can retain his spot in the 15-man squad for the World Cup.
Remarkably, Southee's injury was not an isolated incident during the match that saw four players from the Kiwis side cop blows. New Zealand's Daryl Mitchell also suffered an injury to his ring finger while taking a catch to dismiss Jonny Bairstow. Mitchell, however, was able to return to the field later. Finn Allen, who was on the field as a substitute for Mitchell, also sustained a laceration on his little finger. Allen was later cleared of any further damage. To add to the woes, Ben Lister hobbled off the field with a hamstring issue after bowling just six overs.
New Zealand's World Cup preparations have been further complicated by these injuries. The team is already concerned about the return of their captain, Kane Williamson, who is still returning to competitive cricket after a long time away from the game due to injury and rehabiliation. While Williamson has been named in the World Cup squad, he is yet to play a professional game ahead of the marquee tournament in India.
New Zealand's road to the World Cup has hit a significant bump with Tim Southee's injury. The next few days will be crucial in determining the veteran pacer's availability for the tournament. With multiple players nursing injuries and less than a month to go for the World Cup, the Blackcaps find themselves in a precarious situation. The coming days will undoubtedly be filled with anxious moments as the team awaits further updates on Southee's condition and prepares for the challenges ahead.