Side strain cuts short Mark Craig’s India campaign


Mark Craig, the New Zealand cricket team off-spinner, has been ruled out of the remainder of the Test series against India because of a side strain. Jeetan Patel has been called up to the squad as the replacement.

Craig picked up a left side strain while bowling in the second innings of the ongoing first Test in Kanpur. The spinner did not return to bowl after leaving the field for further treatment. However, he will be available to bat for New Zealand should they require his services.

According to coach Mike Hesson, Craig is expected to take at least four weeks to completely recover from his injury. The 29-year-old, whose India campaign ended with a wicket in each innings of the opening Test, will return to New Zealand and begin his rehabilitation programme.

“We’re really disappointed for Mark, knowing the work he’s put in to prepare for this series. He started well with the ball in the first innings, before developing the side strain,” Hesson said on Monday (September 26).

Speaking about the inclusion of Patel, who last featured in a New Zealand Test team in 2013, coach Hesson said: “Jeetan is up to speed from a bowling load perspective having recently completed a successful county season – so he will be ready for the rigours of Test cricket. He’ll also add invaluable experience to our young spin group.”

Patel, who last made his international appearance against South Africa three years back, has played 19 Tests so far in which he has picked up 52 wickets at an average of 48.46. The 36-year-old had a successful stint with Warwickshire in the 2016 Division One County season in which he finished as the highest wicket-taker, bagging 69 scalps at an average of 24.02.

Patel is expected to join the squad ahead of the second Test that takes place at Eden Gardens, Kolkata from September 30. The third and final Test of the series will be held at the Holkar Cricket Stadium in Indore from October 8. New Zealand then will take on India in a five-match ODI series starting from October 16.

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