Anxiety over Corey Anderson's damaged finger
Corey Anderson's finger injury could be worse than first thought, with the New Zealand all-rounder potentially racing to be fit for the first West Indies test in early June.
Anderson's debut Indian Premier League season with Mumbai Indians - on an $866,000 contract - remains in limbo as he awaits further medical opinion on the dislocated little finger on his right hand suffered in Chittagong on Tuesday.
New Zealand coach Mike Hesson said Anderson was due to visit a specialist and undergo scans in Auckland, but even the first test in Kingston on June 8 was no certainty.
''As far as I know it will be relatively tight, that's the latest I heard. But until we get an update from a specialist we're all guessing. I heard between four and eight weeks [on the sideline] so there's quite a lot of time between that,'' Hesson said.
It means Anderson's IPL income could be dropping by the day, given players receive 80 per cent of their salary pro rata for matches they are available for, then the remaining 20 per cent if they actually play. The John Wright-coached Mumbai open the IPL on April 16 and play the last of their 14 round-robin matches on May 25.
Hesson and co-selector Bruce Edgar plan to announce their 15-man test squad to tour West Indies next Friday, along with the 15-man NZA team to tour England.
Anderson will likely be named subject to fitness, alongside Jimmy Neesham who would be challenging hard for the all-rounder's spot in the Caribbean anyway.
A second spinner alongside Ish Sodhi provides the biggest head-scratcher. Hesson said two specialists would be included, with pitches in Jamaica, Trinidad and Guyana expected to be tailor-made for home spinners Sunil Narine and Shane Shillingford. The latter took 12 wickets against Jamaica at Kingston last month in his return from suspension for an illegal action.
''There will definitely be an opportunity for a second spinner. They will attack us with Shillingford and Narine and that will be a big challenge for us and we need to find a couple of good spinners ourselves,'' Hesson said.
Contracted left-armer Bruce Martin, who Hesson said battled injury throughout the season, and legspinner Todd Astle who was the Plunket Shield's second-highest wicket-taker, are in the mix but contenders are hardly smashing the door down.
Daniel Vettori remains on ice as he jets to India to coach Bangalore in the IPL. It is understood Vettori (back) has done little recent bowling and will have to rely on Hesson's goodwill to keep the door open for the World Cup.
''It makes it pretty difficult if he [Vettori] hasn't played in that period [West Indies tour]. Our next cricket is not till South Africa at home [in October]. With a whole winter it makes it difficult, but anything's possible,'' Hesson said.
The openers provide another head-scratcher. Peter Fulton and Hamish Rutherford are both under heavy scrutiny after a lean home summer, and the time seems right to give Tom Latham his chance, probably at Fulton's expense.
''When you produce green seamers you ask pretty tough questions of your openers. It works for the team but probably doesn't work so much for the individuals involved. We've certainly got discussions to have there,'' Hesson said.
IPL players Anderson, Neesham, Brendon McCullum, Ross Taylor and Tim Southee should arrive in time for the second warmup game in Jamaica.
Jesse Ryder and Doug Bracewell will have to cool their heels a bit longer, too. Hesson said he would be reviewing their progress after their off-field hijinks in Auckland before the second India test.
''As we said at the time there needed to be a real change of behaviour over a period of time and that doesn't happen overnight.''