New Zealand's hamstrung hero of Hamilton, Martin Guptill, is out of the entire England series after it was revealed he requires thumb surgery.
Guptill blasted 27 not out as he hobbled on a strained left hamstring to guide New Zealand's run chase home in the first ODI on Sunday.
But New Zealand Cricket has confirmed the opener had suffered ligament damage to his left thumb during a training session earlier this month, and will undergo surgery next week.
It is expected to sideline him for 6-8 weeks, and he will target a return for the tour of England which starts with a warmup match against Guptill's county side, Derbyshire, on May 4. The hamstring problem will keep Guptill out of Saturday's final ODI.
New Zealand physiotherapist Paul Close said while Guptill could continue playing in the short term with the thumb injury he needed to have surgery at some point.
"We felt it was best to get Martin right for the tour to England in May and June, so the next couple of months were seen as the best window to have the surgery."
The injury is similar to that suffered by team-mate Tim Southee in late-December, and he was back playing cricket within two months after successful thumb surgery.
Guptill averaged 50 in the three-match Twenty20 series and after his match-winning knock in Hamilton looked to be returning to his best form.
His absence from the three-test series leaves coach and chief selector Mike Hesson with two opening spots to fill, assuming they follow through with the plan to bat skipper Brendon McCullum at No 5.
Canterbury's Peter Fulton, who scored 98 against Auckland today and was the leading Plunket Shield runscorer heading into this round, is the frontrunner for one spot.
Daniel Flynn is the other leading contender after scoring two centuries since his shift to open for Northern Districts, while Hamish Rutherford, Tom Latham and even Central Districts' Jeet Raval, who scored 121 against Northern today, are in the mix.
- Fairfax Media
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