World Test Championship: Colin de Grandhomme back into training before huge Blackcaps England tour

After a home summer ruined by injury, Blackcaps all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme is certain he's nearly back to his best, as New Zealand prepare for their test tour of England.

De Grandhomme, 34, was restricted to domestic cricket over the 2020/21 summer, as he battled an ankle injury that restricted him to playing as a specialist batsman for Northern Districts.

But after March surgery, de Grandhomme is now back in training and slowly returning to full match fitness - most notably bowling.

"The ankle's on track to be ready," de Grandhomme tells Newshub. "It's been feeling really good at the moment, hopefully it should be good to go when I get there.

"I'm just getting a couple of seam releases going at the moment. Next week, I'll get back into it and should be ready by the time the first ball's bowled in England."

After a summer of unparalleled success for the Blackcaps - seven of seven series won against the touring West Indies, Pakistan, Australia and Bangladesh - de Grandhomme could be seen as a forgotten man.

The all-rounder hasn't played for his adopted country since before the COVID-19 pandemic and sporting shut down in early 2020.

But even if he may be viewed as an unnecessary luxury who'd struggle to break back into the Blackcaps side, de Grandhomme is still very highly regarded within the team environment.

"He's crucial," bowling coach Shane Jurgensen says. "He's been a fantastic contributor to the team now for a long period of time in test cricket.

"He's very formidable with the ball. He's always challenging batters [with] his outswingers and he's played some really important innings.

"He's a really crucial person, who can adapt to situations."

The emergence of players like Kyle Jamieson and Daryl Mitchell over the past 12 months has seen a bottleneck for the all-rounder spots in the Blackcaps test side.

What's more, when you take into account players like Mitchell Santner and rookie Rachin Ravindra as spin bowling all-rounders, de Grandhomme and co. will face stiff competition, if they're to take the field in England.

But for de Grandhomme, he's happy to play whatever role is asked of him.

"I'm feeling good at the moment,” he adds. “I feel like I'm on track, that I should be able to give what I'm needed to do.

"I'm happy to do any job I'm given. There's heaps of good competition at the moment - it's whoever's best on the day.

"It's good competition for New Zealand cricket and it's been good to watch."

The Blackcaps begin their tour of England on May 25 against county side Somerset, before a two-test series against England, starting on June 2 at Lord's and at Birmingham's Edgbaston on June 10.

New Zealand will finish their tour of England with the inaugural World Test Championship final, played against India at Southampton on June 18.

Join Newshub for live updates of the World Test Championship final from June 18.