LEEDS, England (Reuters) - Luke Ronchi is in line to make his test debut against England at Headingley on Friday with regular wicketkeeper BJ Watling causing concerns that his knee injury will not stand up to playing in the match.
Watling was struck on the knee by a delivery from fast bowler Matt Henry and absent from the field for much of the first test at Lord’s with top-order batsman Tom Latham taking the gloves.
Watling could still play but solely as a batsman with all-rounder Corey Anderson likely to be ruled out with a back injury.
“Both BJ and Corey are doubtful at this stage,” captain
Brendon McCullum told reporters. ”We want to give them one last chance and until we are 100 percent on them we won’t be able to name the team.
“If BJ is ruled out of keeping then Ronchi will come in and make his debut. In terms of Corey we have to work out the best option.”
The 34-year-old Ronchi, who has principally been a limited overs specialist for New Zealand and was the first-choice wicketkeeper during the recent World Cup, has scored almost 4,500 runs at 38.42 in first class cricket.
England hold a 1-0 lead in the two-match series after a remarkable fifth day at Lord’s when they bowled New Zealand out for 220 to achieve a 124-run victory.
McCullum’s aggressive approach to the game has been questioned by New Zealand media and pundits after holding the advantage at several moments during the first test, though the captain said they would continue that at Leeds.
“It’s not panic stations, it’s just we need to improve a couple of our rough edges,” McCullum said.
”Our guys are hurting a lot after that test match. We gave ourselves a good chance to win that test and to lose it hurts a lot. There’s a steely resolve in the group to turn that around.
”I make no apologies for how we play the game, we need to play an aggressive and innovative style of cricket because we have seen over the last six series, we have been undefeated playing that way.
“I‘m confident we have made some changes and we’ll play a really good game of cricket. Whether we win, we’ll see.”
Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Ken Ferris