Matt Henry is an integral part of our squad: Gary Stead

21 Dec, 2018 9:56 am

WELLINGTON (92 News) – New Zealand coach Gary Stead feels pacer Matt Henry will have a role to play through the course of the season despite being sidelined in Tests by Trent Boult, Tim Southee and Neil Wagner.

Matt Henry’s been out of luck with selection in the Test Playing XI with the likes of Trent Boult, Tim Southee and Neil Wagner being preferred ahead of him.

New Zealand’s last four matches, stretching back from the first match of the three-Test series against Pakistan in UAE, have been Tests, and Henry has had to patiently watch from the sidelines.

In the UAE Tests, New Zealand played just two quicks, and Henry didn’t find a spot. In the first of two Tests against Sri Lanka at Wellington, which ended in a draw, New Zealand played three seamers, but Henry continued to be on the bench.

And while Henry has become quite a vital cog in the New Zealand one-day international setup, but is yet to leave quite a mark in Tests. He played the last of his nine Tests in December 2017, although he’s been a regular part of the squad as the reserve paceman.

Head coach Stead, however, insisted that Henry remained a valuable member of the set up, and feels he will get to play a big role through the course of the New Zealand summer.

“I still think Matt will get a good amount of cricket over the summer”

“Matt’s an integral part of our squad still, and sometimes opportunities are hard to come by,” Stead said.

“But we’ve got a long summer ahead of us still and in terms of the forward planning that we’ve looked at throughout the summer, there are probably chances for people to come out and freshen up with a bigger view to the World Cup down the track. I still think Matt will get a good amount of cricket over the summer.”

In the Test against Sri Lanka at Basin Reserve in Wellington, Boult and Southee sent down a whopping 52 overs each, while Wagner too exerted himself for 43 overs as the pitch flattened out completely after a spicy first day.

The heavy workload they shouldered could mean that Henry could get a sneak in the next Test at his home ground in Christchurch as a replacement for a more fatigued teammate. But coach Stead is confident that his bowlers will have recovered in time for the Boxing Day Test.

“One of the things that has happened in the UAE is that two of the Test matches were over in four days, and in one of them we only bowled once as well,” the coach explained.

“Where we thought the number of overs for the fast bowlers would have been really, really big, we’re certainly not at that stage. I take on board, though, that both Tim and Trent bowled 50 or a bit more overs than that in this Test.

“I guess we will monitor how they are over the next three or four days. I think we have enough time to be able to select who we think our very best team is, because they would have recovered.”

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