THE New Zealand cricket team has suffered another blow, with paceman Tim Southee out of the tour to South Africa.
He suffered a badly damaged thumb while fielding for his Northern Knights side against Wellington.
It is a major setback for the Black Caps, with Southee having taken 12 wickets in the recent series against Sri Lanka, including his third five wicket bag.
He backed that up at domestic level with his maiden first class 100, and another five wicket haul.
It means the team will be without their best bowler and best batsman following Ross Taylor’s withdrawal after he was dumped as captain in place of Brendan McCullum.
Black Caps physiotherapist, Paul Close told APNZ: “Tim Southee has unfortunately been ruled out of the Test series against South Africa.
“He landed heavily on his thumb while fielding, with scans indicating the ligament has fully ruptured and retracted.
“After consultation with NZC medical staff and a hand specialist it was decided the best course of action is for him to have surgery.
“He will commence rehabilitation immediately following the procedure, with a view to him returning to cricket during the home summer.
“The procedure is likely to keep him out of the game for 6-8 weeks. ”
A decision on Southee’s replacement is yet to be made.