Southee fit for Australia showdown, says McCullum
Auckland: New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum today quashed any fears over paceman Tim Southee’s participation in tomorrow’s World Cup game against Australia, saying he is expected to play in an unchanged team.
The 26-year-old suffered a nasty blow when struck by a throw from team-mate Adam Milne during fielding practice on Thursday and fell to the ground in obvious pain, clutching the back of his right shoulder.
The fall, and Southee’s reaction, sparked a light-hearted response from his team-mates but the swing bowler sat out the remainder of the net session at Auckland’s Eden Park while ice was applied to his shoulder.
“He (Southee) is alright, it was just a bolt to the shoulder,” said McCullum. “He is good and bowled well today and went through his work so we expect him to play.”
Southee is key to New Zealand hopes having taken 11 wickets in three games — the most in the tournament — with a best of 7-33 against England in Wellington last Friday.
It was the best bowling performance in all one-day cricket by a New Zealander and third best in World Cup history.
McCullum said New Zealand will field the same team which has featured in the first three matches.
“We are playing the same team. So far, so good with all the injuries,” added McCullum. “I think the guys have really stood up, performed well and the combinations have worked pretty well.
“The structure of this tournament allows us to freshen up some players. It’s hard on the guys who are not playing but at some point in time in this tournament they will have the opportunity to make an impact by having a game.”
New Zealand are top of Pool A with six points from three wins in as many matches. Australia have three points from their win over England and the rained-off match against Bangladesh.
The top four from each of the two groups of seven will qualify for the quarter-finals.