New Zealand captain Kane Williamson has declared himself fit for the upcoming Test series against South Africa, which will be part of the World Test Championship.
The Black Caps, who are currently placed third in the WTC25 points table, can make a lot of gains if they manage to perform well against South Africa.
Despite the relative inexperience of the South African team, which includes seven uncapped players, Williamson believes it will be a strong contest.
“We have no illusions that this is certainly going to be a tough encounter. They are all very good players and we want to get our focus back on our cricket.
Williamson said New Zealand, who have never won a Test series against South Africa, will focus on playing their brand of cricket to score crucial WTC points.
“Any win anywhere is important. So it is difficult to micromanage a Test Championship campaign.
“It's such a long time, and games can come sporadically with Test cricket. So it's an effort to band together as a group and focus on the cricket we want to play. This gives us the best chance [to win] And try to do this for a longer period of time. This is what the series is focusing on.”
Williamson, who has suffered a lot of injuries recently, is set to play in the upcoming two Test matches against South Africa.
Williamson missed the final leg of the T20 series against Pakistan last month due to a right hamstring injury.
The problem was in the same leg in which he had ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament, an injury that has kept him out of cricket action for about six months in 2023.
However, the New Zealand captain is now confident about his fitness.
“My hamstring is good, it's progressed well over the last few weeks,” Williamson said. “Feeling good, and looking forward to getting back to training and joining up with the team. The weather has been incredible.
“Extremely hot, so yes, I'm sure. And as I said it will be good to be back with the team and I think everyone is really looking forward to getting back together as a Test team.
Williamson's injury is not the only matter of concern in the New Zealand team. Kyle Jamieson is returning from a lower back injury, while Tom Blundell is returning from a hamstring injury.
“I just saw them in the lunch room, and they seemed comfortable eating good food and I think they're OK.
“Obviously with these injuries, they can vary a lot from individual to individual and Tom took a little longer to get the tendons involved with his hamstring. I think he's good, preparing to step up and Kyle bowled a spell a few days ago and I think he got through it well. I think everyone is fit and well.
New Zealand squad: Tim Southee, Tom Blundell, Devon Conway, Matt Henry, Kyle Jamieson, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Will O'Rourke (2nd Test only), Glenn Phillips, Rachin Ravindra, Mitch Santner, Neil Wagner, Kane Williamson. Will Young
4-8 February, 1st Test, Tauranga
13-17 February, Second Test, Hamilton