New Zealand’s Kyle Jamieson ‘feels fresh mentally and physically’, ready to return from back injury

Kyle Jamieson has tried to treat his extended spell on the sidelines as “more of a blessing than a hindrance” and hopes to return to the New Zealand Test mentally and physically fresher after missing the past seven months with a back injury.
Jamieson injured his back during the Trent Bridge Test in June, on New Zealand’s tour of England, and has since played just a handful of games for Auckland as part of a “careful” return to action. He was named in the Test squad on Thursday for the home series against England starting later this month and is looking to don the black cap again, although he is likely to feature in just one of the two Tests.

“It’s definitely nice to be back in the team, first time in a while, so excited about it,” he said. “It’s been nice, the journey through club cricket and the process of coming back. Nice to hit a few milestones and have another one today [after being selected for the Test squad].”

Jamieson has had a meteoric rise since making his debut for New Zealand in 2020, helping his country win the ICC Test World Championship and was ranked the ICC’s No.5 Test bowler at the start of the England tour. But the injury gave him a chance to get off the court and recharge at home before starting rehab.

“[I’ve gone through] probably a whole range of emotions,” he said. “You go through the initial frustration of the injury, you have a bit of time at home and it’s not too bad, then you see the boys playing on TV and you want to be out there. So a whole range of emotions, but early on I wanted to treat the process more as a blessing than a hindrance and try to focus on what I was getting out of that time, six, seven months or whatever it was. Try to focus my energy that way, and obviously it’s nice to be back.

“The nature of the schedule these days, we’re playing so much cricket, and it’s been two-and-a-half years straight for me. So it’s been nice to have an extended spell at home, I definitely feel fresh, energized, both mentally and physically. So I’m looking forward to it.” to take that next step.”

Jamieson will play in England’s warm-up game

Jamieson played two T20s and two List A games in domestic cricket for Auckland last month and will take the next step towards a comeback when he plays for a New Zealand side against the tourists in Hamilton ahead of the first Test, a day-night game at Mt Mauganui starts on February 16.

New Zealand will be without Trent Boult for the series, but while Jamieson said he was shouldering the bowling load in the nets, Gary Stead, the New Zealand coach, indicated he was likely to play just one Test against England, with to manage its availability throughout the year.

“I feel good, I bowled a huge amount of overs,” Jamieson said. “Not so much in the matches but I’ve been bowling since the beginning of November so there’s a decent workload. It’s just another step in the journey, how we manage these next couple of weeks will be an ongoing conversation.”

Stead said New Zealand could make more use of Daryl Mitchell’s bowling, possibly as a fourth-seamer in home conditions, while Ish Sodhi was preferred to Ajaz Patel as an attacking spin option more likely to thrive against the attacking approach that led by England under Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum, who saw New Zealand beaten 3-0 during last year’s tour of the country.

Jamieson featured in two of those three Tests and wanted to clash with Stokes’ side again. “It sure is going really well, isn’t it? It’s been fun to see them change the way they play their cricket. As a fan of the game, it’s just exciting to see. It’ll be nice to see it up close and personal again in some weeks, but it’s been great for the game.”

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