Wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi's bid for test selection has been stymied by a hamstring injury that will rule him out of the New Zealand XI to face England in Queenstown, starting on Wednesday.
Ronchi was set to captain the side in the four-day match, but national coach Mike Hesson confirmed the former Australian gloveman had a significant injury which he aggravated while playing for Wellington in their Plunket Shield win over Otago.
"Initial reports are that it's not very good," Hesson said.
Test wicketkeeper BJ Watling will also keep wicket in Queenstown in place of Ronchi, while test opening contender Tom Latham will captain the New Zealand XI.
Hesson said Ronchi was being looked at closely for test selection, having become eligible for New Zealand in January.
"He had [an injury] then came back and played this recent game and reinjured it. He was captaining our New Zealand XI side in Queenstown so he's obviously a serious consideration."
The Queenstown game will feature two interesting duels with an eye to the first test in Dunedin on March 6.
Latham and Hamish Rutherford will open the batting after both were named in the test squad of 12 today. Hesson said Rutherford was "most likely" to partner Peter Fulton in the test 11, but Latham has his chance to impress.
And fast bowlers Mark Gillespie and Neil Wagner will share the new ball this week and get their chance to claim the final spot in the 13-man squad for Dunedin.
New Zealand XI: Hamish Rutherford, Tom Latham (captain), Carl Cachopa, Dean Brownlie, Neil Broom, BJ Watling, Corey Anderson, Jimmy Neesham, Neil Wagner, Mark Gillespie, Jeetan Patel.