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Nathan Astle in doubt for South Africa series

Published: Saturday, January 31, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
 
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Wellington :Injuries have hit the New Zealand cricket trial ahead of the tour by South Africa with a question mark over the fitness of champion batsman Nathan Astle and double All Black Jeff Wilson ruled out of contention.

Selection manager Sir Richard Hadlee named an extended squad for the South Island side in the February 8 Island of Origin match, with one player to cover for Astle if he has not fully recovered from the knee injury which kept him out of the recent Pakistan series.

At the end of the game, New Zealand Black Caps coach John Bracewell is to name the side for the first One-day International against South Africa, in Auckland on February 13.

Astle is New Zealand's most accomplished One-day batsman with 13 centuries and holder of the world record for scoring the fastest Test double-century in 153 balls set against England in 2001-02.

Rain washed out two recent provincial matches in which the 32-year-old was to test the leg, preventing the New Zealand Cricket medical panel from being able to properly assess his recovery.

Double All Black Wilson, who retired from rugby two years ago, had been tipped to return to the New Zealand cricket team he last represented in the early 1990s, but has been plagued by a leg problems in recent weeks and was not considered for the trial because of injury.

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