Cricket: Understrength Blackcaps lose more firepower for T20 international tour to Pakistan

Finn Allen.
Finn Allen. Photo credit: Getty Images

The Blackcaps have lost another pair of frontline players for this month's Twenty20 international tour to Pakistan, with batter Finn Allen and bowler Adam Milne ruled out of the series due to injury.

Allen is nursing a back injury, while Milne injured an ankle at training. Recovery timeframes for each player are yet to be confirmed.

Wicketkeeper batter Tom Blundell and allrounder Zak Foulkes have been called into the squad as replacements.

"We feel for both Finn and Adam, suffering injuries so close to the start of the tour," said coach Gary Stead.

"They have been strong performers for us in the T20 format since the last World Cup.

"Our support staff and medical networks will be working closely with both players over the next few weeks to complete plans for their treatment and subsequent return to cricket."

Adam Milne.
Adam Milne. Photo credit: Getty Images

It's a cruel blow to the Blackcaps squad, which was already underpowered, primarily due to Indian Premier League commitments.

Trent Boult, Devon Conway, Lockie Ferguson, Matt Henry, Daryl Mitchell, Glenn Phillips, Rachin Ravindra, Mitch Santner and Kane Williamson are all India competing in the powerhouse T20 competition.

Meanwhile, veteran Tim Southee is resting to prioritise the upcoming test schedule. Will Young (English county cricket) and Tom Latham (paternity leave) were also out of selection contention.

Stead believes both Blundell and potential debutant Foulkes will add plenty to his group.

"Tom is a highly experienced player and along with his wicketkeeping and batting skillsets is a leader in any group he is a part of," said Stead. "He also brings recent experience in the conditions, having taken part in both tours to Pakistan last year.

"Zak has had an impressive season for Canterbury including being their leading wicket taker in all three competitions. He has displayed impressive skills with the ball, particularly in T20 cricket for the Kings.

"We also know he has skills with the bat and it will be an excellent opportunity for him to be part of the group."

The squad departs for Pakistan on Friday, with the first match against Pakistan in Rawalpindi next Thursday.