New Zealand are confident wicket-keeper Tom Latham will be fit for their opening game of the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup against Sri Lanka on June 1. The wicket-keeper’s fitness had been a doubt after he broke his finger during a warm-up game in Australia earlier this month. Latham trained fully for the first time on May 30 and said he felt no pain or discomfort as he batted in the nets and caught balls at full pace. He remains on track to be available for selection for their first game. New Zealand head coach Gary Stead confirmed that signs were positive for Latham, but said they still need to monitor him in the coming days.
“He’s probably slightly ahead of time. So far Tom’s reached all the milestones that we’ve wanted him to, and today was another step, taking balls with more heat on them and making him dive and jump around a wee bit more. It’s a bit bent from what happened, but he’s had no pain so far, which means the bone has knitted back well,” Stead said in a press conference. Explaining the condition of his finger, Latham said, “It’s nice to get through training but we’ll still wait and see how it pulls up tonight and tomorrow.”
If Latham needs more time to nurse his injury, the Kiwi side will call up their back-up keeper Tom Blundell, who is yet to make his ODI debut. Blundell scored a century in New Zealand’s second warm-up match against the West Indies. “He played a fantastic inning. Even the way he went in Australia before we came over here, he’s certainly hitting the ball really well and the ball looks like it’s going into the gloves nicely. It’s a nice confidence boost for him to get some runs against a good West Indies attack and Australia as well,” said Latham.