Lockie Ferguson has been ruled out of the T20 World Cup 2021 due to a calf rupture, New Zealand Cricket said less than an hour before the team’s first match against Pakistan in Sharjah on Tuesday.
In a like-for-like right-arm fast paceman swap, Ferguson will be replaced by Adam Milne, who was previously in the reserves, pending permission from the ICC’s technical committee.
“Ferguson noticed discomfort in his right calf after training, and an MRI scan on game day indicated a grade two tear that would take three to four weeks to heal,” according to the NZC statement.
New Zealand’s T20 World Cup group stage schedule has them playing five games in 13 days, and coach Gary Stead stated they had no choice but to leave Ferguson out of the competition.
“Having this happen on the eve of the competition is a great shame for Lockie, and the entire squad is really hurting for him right now,” Stead said. “He’s a big part of our T20 side and has been in great form, so losing him now is a big loss.”
“However, we are fortunate in having a like-for-like substitute in Adam Milne, who has been working with the team for the previous two weeks.”
Milne is already in the UAE with the team as a travelling injury cover, but he won’t be allowed to play until the ICC approves him, which means he won’t be available for the match against Pakistan
Ferguson and Milne both played for Kolkata Knight Riders and Mumbai Indians in the second leg of the IPL 2021, which was held in the United Arab Emirates. Milne only played three games for Mumbai, but Ferguson played eight for Knight Riders, including the eliminator, second qualifier, and final.
“I’m simply going to approach it the same way I would if I were on the squad,” Milne said. “I just try to train and play as hard as I can, and prepare as much as I can. I know I have a chance if something occurs, and I’m prepared to take it.
“It’s been nice not to be injured. In England, I participated in the Vitality Blast, the Hundred, and the second half of the IPL. It’s amazing to be back on the field; it’s been a fantastic year. It’s a good start to be at the park. I’ve had a lot of problems with that, so it’s been good to be able to play cricket on a regular basis. It allows you to work on your game instead of stopping and starting. (You) combine the excellent and bad performances and try to ride off the crimson tide.
“After after a long time away, it’s good to see the New Zealand lads again. It’s a pleasant setting.”