Colin de Grandhomme out of Pakistan Tests; Kane Williamson expected for second T20I

Colin de Grandhomme pulls with conviction AFP

Colin de Grandhomme will play no part in the upcoming Test series at home against Pakistan as he isn't yet back to running, and recovers from a foot injury, while the wait for Kane Williamson to return to the set-up continues. New Zealand coach Gary Stead said that the all-format captain, who took leave to be with his partner Sarah Raheem for the birth of their first child, is expected to join the team before the second T20I against Pakistan, but that it's still a waiting game at this stage.

"There's no update on baby news at this stage, so we're just going to let them carry on as is," Stead said of Williamson, three days out from the first T20I against Pakistan in Auckland, at a press interaction. "The plan at this stage still is that he will join the team for T20s two and three."

The first Test starts on Boxing Day after the last T20I on December 22, and Stead said de Grandhomme is expected to return to domestic cricket around mid-January. "Colin's unfortunately going to be ruled out of the two Tests against Pakistan," Stead said. "He's got a stress reaction in his right foot; we haven't at this stage been able to get him up to running stage and then ultimately bowling as well, so unfortunately for Colin, he's out. Looking like, hopefully, a mid-January return to play in the Super Smash for him."

There was no major update on Lockie Ferguson's injured back either, with the team management waiting for reports of the scans, but the latest on left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel was encouraging. "Ajaz Patel will travel up with the 'A' squad this week [to play Pakistan A in Whangarei]. He is going to be part of their preparations," Stead said. "We are hoping that he's going to be in contention for the Test match; in terms of the selection side of things it's still a bit wait and see to see where he's at with that."

De Grandhomme and Patel had also missed the two-Test series against West Indies, which New Zealand swept 2-0 with innings wins in both games. Williamson was the Player of the Match in the first Test for a career-best 251, and though he missed the second game as he had gone on paternity leave by then, Will Young, who had debuted in the first Test, slotted in at No. 3 and scored 43.

Kyle Jamieson, meanwhile, was the main allrounder for New Zealand in the two Tests, and emerged with the Player-of-the-Series award after picking up 11 wickets - with a best of 5 for 34 in the first innings of the second Test - and scoring 71 runs in two innings, including an unbeaten 51 in the first Test.