Black Caps to announce Test squad on Friday for three-Test series against Australia in November.
Allrounder Corey Anderson is hopeful he will be fit for New Zealand's November tour of Australia despite being diagnosed with a double stress fracture in his spine just three months ago.
The Black Caps will name their 15-man squad for the three-Test series against Australia at 9am AEST on Friday, a little less than two months before the series gets underway in Brisbane on November 5. Anderson is expected to be named in the squad but his availability for the first Test at the Gabba is yet to be confirmed.
The 24-year-old injured his back in the first Test against England at Lord's in May and was later diagnosed with fractures in the L3 and L5 vertebra of his back. Having missed New Zealand's one-day series in England and Africa, Anderson has returned to training with a toned-down workload that is being monitored closely by the team's medical staff. He is currently bowling off two paces in the nets but says the plan is to "push it to the edge" in the coming weeks in the hope of being available for the start of the New Zealand domestic season on October 15 before heading to Australia.
"It's felt like a pretty slow process as backs always seem to take a lot longer," Anderson said.
Everything is going to plan and I'm just hoping to make myself available for that tour. That's the time frame I've been given and I'm on track for that.
"That first Test is the aim and if I'm not right I obviously won't be playing. I wouldn't go in 80 per cent; it's very hard to play a Test match if you're not firing on all cylinders."
Anderson's injury came following an intense period of cricket that started against Pakistan in the UAE last November and included the 2015 World Cup, the Indian Premier League and the tour of England.
He said the constant playing eventually took a toll. "Whether there's one or two (stress fractures) it doesn't really matter; the time frame will stay the same," he said.
"It's not nice and it was almost a relief that I found out I had something and I could treat it and get back on the park. You get a little bit worried that you'll have to keep playing through pain.
"We started in Dubai with a pretty big tour then the home summer and all the focus was on the World Cup trying to time our bodies to peak during that period.
It all kept flowing on to IPL then the England tour and no one really had time to take a breather and realise what we'd done over that six-month period. I had a couple of niggles; a broken hand through the IPL and a bit of flying time which wouldn't have helped the back, then straight into Test matches.
Anderson is a crucial element to the balance of New Zealand's Test side, especially with another allrounder in Jimmy Neesham also battling a back problem.
He was one of several key players to miss the recent ODI series in South Africa as the Black Caps prepare for the series against their trans-Tasman rivals.
Fast-bowler Trent Boult is recovering well from a back injury of his own and is expected to lead a pace attack with Tim Southee that - if New Zealand's Test squad in England is any indication - will also include Matt Henry, Doug Bracewell and Neil Wagner. Stuff.co.nz is expecting little change from the squad that toured the UK, meaning off-spinner Mark Craig will be the sole spinner and Luke Ronchi the back-up wicketkeeper to BJ Watling.
The Black Caps and Australia will play Tests in Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide, the latter the first-ever day-night Test match.
The two teams will then face off in a two-Test series in New Zealand in February next year.
Source : Cricket Australia