Third test: New Zealand sweats on Kane Williamson and Henry Nicholls sick
SYDNEY: A flu-like insect that has swept the New Zealand squad before the third test against the forced captain of Australia Kane Williamson and hitter Henry Nicholls lose training for the second consecutive day on Thursday.
Tom Latham, who attended the captain's press conference in Williamson's absence, said that the left arm spinner Mitch Santner had also been affected by the error, but he hoped that the three were in a position to play when the Try start on Friday.
It's in the air right now, but unfortunately a couple of guys are a little bad, Latham told reporters at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).
They will have today free as yesterday, so the fingers crossed tomorrow will be right.
I think they are flu-like symptoms, I'm not 100% sure, he added. It has been a little through the team, which is not ideal, but today they are resting and we hope they are ready.
New Zealand was hit hard in the first two Tests of the three-game series, but the loss in particular of world-class hitter Williamson would be a great blow to his hopes of making a good performance to close the tour.
Latham, however, thought it would be a very serious illness for his captain to miss the game.
I think it will take a lot, he said. He is obviously a great leader among this group and he is passionate about this group, so if there is any chance that he will play, even if it is a small possibility, I am sure he will play.
In any case, Santner was under pressure for his place on the side after taking 1-250 in the first two Tests and his illness makes it even more likely that Will Somerville will play his fourth Test.
The former 35-year-old accountant, who knows SCG well after playing for New South Wales for four years until 2018, was called to the team this week.
New Zealand has only one extra hitter on the team, but Latham said the presence of some versatile players would facilitate the position if Williamson and Nicholls couldn't play.
Obviously, if we lose those guys, it would be a bit of a disappointment, but ... wherever we end up playing, we have the support of the whole group that it's the right team to do the job, he said.
We haven't necessarily played our best cricket brand since we've been here and the boys are really excited to go out in the next five days and try to perform well.