Cricket: Tests to be priority over Twenty20s for Blackcaps fast bowler Kyle Jamieson's summer, says coach Gary Stead

Despite the lure and global trend towards Twenty20 cricket, tests will be the priority for Kyle Jamieson's home summer Blackcaps coach Gary Stead says.

Since his Blackcaps debut at the start of 2020, Jamieson has been New Zealand's standout seamer in the longest format.

Even battling a consistent run of injuries over the last few years, the 29-year-old has still taken 74 wickets in 18 tests, at an astonishing average of 20.08.

Kyle Jamieson appeals.
Kyle Jamieson appeals. Photo credit: Photosport

That's compared to a record of 14 wickets in 13 ODIs at an average of 36.50, and 10 wickets in 13 T20s at 41.20.

So prolific was Jamieson in test cricket, his start to the international game convinced Indian Premier League outfit Royal Challengers Bangalore to fork out NZ$2.86 million to sign the giant fast bowler for their 2021 season.  

That success in the longest format, though, has come at a huge strain on Jamieson's body.

In mid-2022, the 29-year-old suffered a back injury while playing against England which kept him sidelined from the Blackcaps for over a year, missing the 2023 home summer entirely after surgery.

What's more, once Jamieson made his comeback, a hamstring complaint resulted in Jamieson being withdrawn from the Blackcaps' side to face Bangladesh last month.  

At the time, Stead maintained Jamieson was withdrawn to prevent further injury, as medical staff placed Jamieson in a high-risk category with his hamstring.

And as the New Zealand squad for five T20s against Pakistan was named on Wednesday, Jamieson's absence has continued.

Missing the series could be a huge blow for Jamieson, with the build-up towards this year's Twenty20 World Cup in the USA and West Indies starting against Pakistan.

Kyle Jamieson.
Kyle Jamieson. Photo credit: Getty Images

Instead, Stead and selectors will look to make the most of Jamieson's strengths.

Before the summer is out, the Blackcaps will play test series against South Africa and Australia, with both counting crucial points towards the World Test Championship standings.

New Zealand have not beaten their trans-Tasman foes in a test since 2011, and haven't won a series against Australia since 1993.

Against South Africa, meanwhile, the Blackcaps have not won any test series in 15 previous attempts, although that could change given the Proteas sending a depleted squad due to the dates clashing with their own T20 competition.

And while Jamieson is continuing to come back from his latest injury concern, Stead outlines that him being fit for test cricket is the most important thing for New Zealand.  

"He's going ok," said Stead. "It's a little bit conservative for us, when we look at the test series further down the track, we haven't considered Kyle for this series.

"It's a very similar injury to what Matt Henry had, in the hamstring, it's tendon related which is why we're being a little bit cautious.

"If he was to re-injure it, it would probably not be good for the rest of the summer.

"He's obviously an integral part of our test team, and we want him flying for that."

Even in limited appearances for the Blackcaps in test cricket, Jamieson's impact cannot be understated.

In 2021, he was named man-of-the-match as the Blackcaps claimed the inaugural World Test Championship title, taking 7/81 with the ball to defeat India by eight wickets.

Then, that same year, Jamieson became the fastest New Zealander to reach the mark of 50 test wickets - doing so in his ninth test. The previous record-holder, Shane Bond, did so in his 12th test.

All up, only eight players in the history of the game have taken 50 wickets in fewer tests than Jamieson.