Cricket: Blackcaps star Daryl Mitchell out of action with injury for extended spell

The Blackcaps will be without the services of star batter Daryl Mitchell for the second test against South Africa and the Twenty20 international series against Australia.

Mitchell will be sidelined to give his ongoing foot injury - which has been causing him trouble for the past six months - an extended period of rest and recovery with an eye to the two-test series against the Aussies, which starts in Wellington on February 29.

Canterbury bowler Will O’Rourke will join the squad in Hamilton as planned, but Mitchell’s withdrawal means all remaining members of the squad for the first test at Bay Oval will now travel to Hamilton.

Blackcaps coach Gary Stead stressed the importance of taking a long-term approach with such a critical component of the side.

"Daryl is a hugely important member of the squad in all three formats and ensuring he is in the best shape is vital with the period of matches to come," said Stead.

Daryl Mitchell and Glenn Phillips after their record-breaking partnership against Pakistan.
Daryl Mitchell and Glenn Phillips after their record-breaking partnership against Pakistan. Photo credit: Photosport

"Based on the schedule ahead, we feel now is an appropriate time for Daryl to complete a period of rehabilitation.

"It's really tough because there's not a lot of breaks that are coming up in next wee while. So we thought this gives us nearly three weeks to try and give him the chance of the best recuperation from it anyway.

"There's no guarantees that this will still work in that period of time, but we're very hopeful that it will certainly improve his chances of getting through a longer stint with us."

Mitchell has been one of the Blackcaps' premier performers across all formats over the past two years. His spectacular run at last year's World Cup in India - where he finished the tournament's fifth highest scorer with 552 runs and two centuries - propelled him to a lucrative IPL contract with Chennai Super Kings.

Last month, he combined with Glenn Phillips for an unbroken 139-run stand in the fourth T20 win over Pakistan - the highest fourth-wicket partnership in NZ T20I history.

Mitchell scored 34 and 11no in his two efforts at the crease in the first test against South Africa. New Zealand wrapped up the match on day four by 281 runs on Wednesday. The second test begins at Seddon Park on Tuesday.

There's also a possibility the in-form Kane Williamson will miss at least one of the three upcoming T20s against Australia, as he awaits the birth of his third child. 

The first of those takes place in Wellington on February 21, with the second and third to be played at Auckland's Eden Park (February 23 & 25). 

Stead says he was impressed by the way his team took control of the test form the opening day and never allowed the South Africans to edge their way into the contest, although he's expecting a sterner test when they meet again next week.

"I thought we were dominant in all four days," he said."That was a really pleasing part of it.  

"It's always hard with the unknown of the South African group as well, and we certainly weren't taking them lightly. Whilst they haven't got a lot of test experience, they've got a lot of first-class experience. I expect them to bounce back and be stronger in the second test.

"I think, a wounded Springbok team or any team that comes from South Africa will bounce back and we certainly will be looking at the way we prepare because I thought we prepared very well for this test match."