Blackcaps v England: Returning quick Kyle Jamieson eager to tackle new-ball challenge against England

Returning Blackcaps quick Kyle Jamieson is keen to put his hand up for the new ball in the blockbuster test series against England later this month. 

Jamieson, who has been out of action due to a back injury for eight months, was named in the 14-man squad to take on the English - the first Blackcaps squad in which he's featured since long-serving bowler Trent Boult walked away from his New Zealand Cricket contract in August last year.

With a clear replacement yet to step into the role, Boult's absence means that a regular spot opening the bowling in test matches is still up for grabs. 

When asked if he's keen to be the one who snatches up the spot in the upcoming two-match series against Brendon McCullum’s revitalised England, Jamieson couldn't help but reply with a wry smile.

"Hopefully," he said.

In the Blackcaps' most recent test series against Pakistan in late 2022, coach Gary Stead handed the new ball to Matt Henry in tandem with new captain Tim Southee. 

Kyle Jamieson.
Kyle Jamieson. Photo credit: Getty Images

With Henry also named in the squad alongside Blair Tickner and Neil Wagner, Jamieson was quick to recognise that he would need to earn the coveted role with his play.

"Obviously we've got a whole range of bowlers… so, whatever that role looks like, I'll just try and play my part.

"Whether that's with the new ball, great. If it's first change, so be it."

After such a lengthy layoff, Jamieson's return to the test fold will be carefully managed, with Stead confirming he'd only play the first of the two-test series, which starts in Tauranga on February 16.

That match will also be a day-night contest, Jamieson's first since 2020. The towering quick says he's looking forward to taking advantage of the quirks of the pink ball.

"It's certainly very different," he noted. "I think the way it reacts underlights is a little bit more than it does during the daylight. Obviously surface plays a big part in what actually eventuates as well.

"It's exciting to have a variation to the longer version of the game."

Despite relishing the opportunity to open for New Zealand, the 28-year-old Auckland admitted it will be quite strange to take the pitch without his friend Boult.

"It will be a little bit weird," he said.  "I haven't really done it too many times 

"It’s obviously a bit different, he's played a huge amount of games for New Zealand, taken a huge amount of wickets, and done a pretty outstanding job for a long period of time."

Whether Jamieson is handed the keys to Boult's old job at the top or not, his return gives New Zealand a timely boost.

The Blackcaps head into the upcoming series having lost their last six tests. In stark contrast, England have won nine of their last 10 tests.