15-Sep-2023 • 15 hrs ago
Tim Southee will fly home to New Zealand with his World Cup involvement in doubt, after scans revealed he had dislocated and fractured a bone in his right thumb while dropping a catch during the fourth ODI against England.
Southee suffered the injury trying to take a catch off Joe Root (on 8 at the time) while fielding at a wide first slip off the last delivery of the 14th over at Lord’s, bowled by Ben Lister. He signalled his discomfort immediately before being escorted off the field by a member of the touring medical team.
After leaving the ground for a scan, he did not play any further part in New Zealand’s 100-run loss – Trent Boult replaced him as a substitute fielder, while he didn’t come out to bat in the latter stages of the innings.
With just 20 days before New Zealand begin their World Cup campaign, against England in Ahmedabad in the opening game of the tournament, New Zealand will hope the further assessment can allow Southee to keep his place in the 15-man squad for what will be his fourth ODI World Cup.
“It’s not ideal for Timmy,” Tom Latham, New Zealand’s captain, said. “He’s a massive leader amongst the group and obviously he’ll be assessed over the coming days when we get back home to see how bad it is, but we do have a bit of time leading into those first couple of games, so we’ll know more over the next couple of days.
“He’s a pretty resilient character, so I’m sure he’ll be doing all he can to be on the plane, ready for that first game. But it’s hard to know at this point what the timeframe will be. Once he gets home and has a few more scans, we’ll know the extent of what’s going on.”
Remarkably, Southee was the third of three injuries sustained in New Zealand’s cordon, and their fourth of the match overall. Daryl Mitchell dislocated his ring finger taking a smart low catch to dismiss Jonny Bairstow, before Finn Allen – on for Mitchell – suffered a laceration on the little finger of his right hand when giving Root his first life on 7 after a misjudged late cut, again off Lister. Root was unable to make the most of the two bits of fortune, eventually bowled by Rachin Ravindra for 29. However, Allen was later cleared of any further damage to his finger.
Lister’s misery was compounded when he hobbled off with a hamstring issue after bowling six overs, an injury that has now ended his stint with Kent, for whom he was due to play in the remainder of their County Championship campaign. Neither Allen nor Lister, who was drafted into this series as a replacement for Adam Milne, are in the World Cup squad.
Mitchell was able to return to the field and cover for the loss of two quicks with seven overs of medium pace. He finished with figures of 2 for 40, removing Jos Buttler for 36 with his fourth delivery, and then snaring David Willey in the final over as England reached 311 for 9. However, he made just 4 from 14 balls with the bat as New Zealand’s series hopes faded.
Tim SoutheeDaryl MitchellFinn AllenNew ZealandEngland vs New ZealandNew Zealand in England
Vithushan Ehantharajah is an associate editor at ESPNcricinfo