Kiwis prepare without Redmond
New Zealand’s big tournament curse has struck again ahead of their must-win ICC Champions Trophy contest against England.
The Black Caps have been plagued by ill-luck at major events recently and the latest misfortune left opening batsman Aaron Redmond stranded in Hong Kong.
Redmond, called up as a replacement for injury victim Jesse Ryder, would have been a certainty to play in the day-nighter tomorrow had he arrived in Johannesburg on time.
However, his participation has been put in jeopardy after he was delayed 12 hours on his long-haul journey from Brisbane, and he will now not arrive until 7am tomorrow, seven hours before the toss.
Already hampered by the loss of destructive batsman Ryder to a pulled abductor muscle, and awaiting news of a scan on Daryl Tuffey’s damaged hand, captain Daniel Vettori revealed: “Redmond looks like he is not getting here until 7am, so he might not be available either.
“We are down to the bare bones of our squad but it is something we are used to, unfortunately.
“He would have more than likely come into the team if he had arrived at four o’clock this afternoon. It is tough travel and to come in at altitude may be just too much of an ask but he will be considered.”
Redmond, who has played Tests and Twenty20 cricket but is uncapped at one-day level, had been in Queensland with Otago, preparing for Twenty20 Champions League action next month.
Ryder hit a barnstorming half-century thanks to the aid of a runner in the win over Sri Lanka yesterday, which has left them needing to beat England or lose by a whisker to progress to the last four.
“Jesse’s absence is a big loss for us,” Vettori conceded. “The way he played in the last game showed what a destructive player he can be, and the last time he played against England a couple of years ago he was at his best.”
If Redmond - who filled in for Ryder in the ICC World Twenty20 earlier this year - is overlooked, Martin Guptill will open.
The trend of Kiwi players being thrust into action upon arrival at events continued when James Franklin flew in to replace Jacob Oram earlier this week.
It follows a chaotic World Twenty20 in June during which Vettori (shoulder), Ross Taylor (hamstring), Franklin (knee) and Brendon McCullum (broken finger) were all hindered.
“It’s been with us for the past two ICC tournaments, we can’t use it as an excuse, the guys who will play will have to step up,” said Vettori.
If Tuffey, who, according to Vettori ’took a whack on the hand’, is ruled out, Ian Butler would come into the reckoning, despite losing eight kilograms since arrival here due to an intestinal infection.
“We were close to replacing him but he seems to have perked up the last couple of days,” Vettori revealed.
Few would have expected England and New Zealand to go through from the second half of the competition draw when the tournament was launched a week ago.
“Hopefully we are more desperate tomorrow because it means our tournament whereas England are already through,” Vettori said.
New Zealand’s recent record against England will also give them encouragement.
England have defeated these opponents only four times in the last 17 completed ODIs between the countries.