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Adam Milne ruled out of New Zealand World Cup squad

March 23, 2015

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (AP) — Inexperienced fast bowler Matt Henry may make his Cricket World Cup debut in the semifinals after a heel injury ruled speedster Adam Milne out of New Zealand’s lineup against South Africa.

Milne felt pain from a heel injury after Saturday’s quarterfinal win over the West Indies, and scans showed significant swelling, forcing New Zealand on Monday to rule him out for the remainder of the tournament.

The 23-year-old Henry has played only eight one-day internationals and could be propelled unexpectedly into his ninth, in front of a capacity crowd at Eden Park on Tuesday, as New Zealand attempts to reach a World Cup final for the first time.

New Zealand was awaiting International Cricket Council approval Monday to include Henry in its 15-man squad as a replacement for Milne, who is likely to be out of action for several weeks.

Coach Mike Hesson said New Zealand would decide on its lineup after studying pitch conditions on Tuesday morning. It has a range of options to replace Milne: fast and bouncy Mitchell McClenaghan who took Milne’s place when he was ruled out of New Zealand’s final pool match against Bangladesh with a shoulder injury; the 36-year-old Kyle Mills, who lacks a yard of pace but brings the experience of 170 one-day internationals or the left field possibility of choosing Nathan McCullum as a second spinner.

Henry might seem a remote possibility after narrowly missing selection in New Zealand’s original World Cup squad but his pace and wicket-taking ability make him an attractive selection option as an almost identical replacement for Milne. He has 21 wickets from his eight matches to date, with a best return of 5-30 against Pakistan.

“Once we get to the ground tomorrow we’ll look at whoever is available in the squad and we’ll look at the wicket again and we’ll pick what we deem to be the best squad,” Hesson said. “If Matt ends up in the squad he’ll be considered along with the others.

“Matt Henry’s up here training with us and pending everything works well in the process then Matt Henry will come into the squad.”

Milne took only five wickets in his six World Cup matches and bowled only four overs in its quarterfinal win over the West Indies, but Hesson said that did not fully meaure his value.

“He gives us variety, he gives us extra pace and he gives us the ability to attack at different times of the innings,” Hesson said. “Even though he might not have got wickets at his end he certainly helped to create them at the other.”

McClenaghan took 0-68 from eight overs when he bowled in Milne’s place against Bangladesh and that might make him too much of a risk to take against a class batting lineup such as South Africa’s.

Mills offers controlled line and length but New Zealand does not often use him as a third seamer. He usually opens the bowling and New Zealand might be reluctant to hand him that role if it means breaking the new ball partnership between Trent Boult and Tim Southee.

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