New Zealand’s Devon Conway ruled out of first test against Australia due to injury

New Zealand’s opener, Devon Conway, will be absent from the first Test against Australia, slated to commence on Thursday (February 29) in Wellington. The left-handed batsman sustained an injury to his left thumb during the recently-concluded T20I series against the same opponent. As a replacement, Henry Nicholls has been called up into the squad, with Will Young likely to step into Conway’s position at the top of the order.

Conway suffered the injury during the second T20I in Auckland last Friday and was subsequently unable to bat or keep wickets. Despite initial scans clearing him of fractures, further examination revealed concerns with the thumb. Conway will undergo further assessment during the week to determine the course of treatment and recovery. The second Test of the series is scheduled to begin in Christchurch on March 8.

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New Zealand coach Gary Stead expressed disappointment at Conway’s absence, stating, “It’s disappointing for Devon to be ruled out on the eve of an important match. He’s a class player batting at the top of the order for us, and I know he was really looking forward to this series.”

While New Zealand had concerns over all-rounder Rachin Ravindra’s fitness due to left knee soreness, Stead confirmed that the 24-year-old would be available for selection at Basin Reserve.

Reflecting on team strategy, Stead hinted at the possibility of including Scott Kuggeleijn in the lineup, given the conducive pitch conditions at Basin Reserve. Acknowledging past decisions, Stead remarked, “I think in hindsight, we probably got that wrong the way that the pitch did behave.”

New Zealand, currently leading the World Test Championship standings, view the series against Australia as an opportunity to rectify their record against the reigning champions. “They always set the benchmark and are current world Test champions for a reason. But that’s our opportunity. And that’s for us to go out and I guess show our wares,” Stead remarked, expressing anticipation for the upcoming challenge.