Daryl Mitchell, who was a touch and go leading into the tournament, has been ruled out of New Zealand’s opening game against Australia. The all-rounder, who sustained a fracture in his finger is unlikely to feature in either of the warm-up clashes and subsequently, the opener against Australia as well, Gary Stead confirmed.
"Daryl would have been in our first XI so I think in all likelihood he is unlikely to be available for that first game," Stead said.
"It is more likely the second game is what we are targeting at this stage. I think the one thing we've not done is gone to Sydney and had a look at the pitch, what the condition of the pitch is. It's obviously the first game of the World Cup and the first match is being played at the SCG after the AFL season as well,” he added.
Stead also stated that the BlackCaps will use the two warm-up games to test out their combination ahead the opener.
"For us, it's managing guys' physical and mental state leading into this first game. We'll use the two warm-up games in all likelihood to play all members of the squad. Except obviously Daryl right now. Just sharing a bit of the workload around and making sure guys are ready for that first game,” he added.
While the BlackCaps lost the tri-series final against Pakistan, there were a number of positives for them to draw from the clash, including the form of their skipper, Kane Williamson and their opener, Devon Conway.
"It's great to see Kane back hitting the ball as he was. He went out with great intent and showed that he can play those match innings that just change the game as well. I don't think I put Kane necessarily in that sort of power sort of a category but I've said for a while you've got guys like Devon Conway who through batsmanship can actually generate strike rates and be as good as anyone in the world. He showed that last year and in the World T20 final and it was great to see him back.”
New Zealand would go into the World Cup with two recognised wicketkeepers, in the form of Conway and Glenn Phillips. Stead confirmed that an injury to Conway would mean that the BlackCaps would rope in a wicketkeeper and not use the services of Finn Allen behind the stumps.
"I think tomorrow Glenn Phillips will probably take the gloves just for a short period of time," Stead said. "Finn Allen's another option for us. For the moment we just allow him to keep going with the bat the way he is. He is an outstanding fielder as is Glenn as well. That's something we hope won't happen obviously but if something happens to Devon, then we would fly a keeper-batsman over to fill that spot."