New Zealand allrounder Mitchell Santner.
New Zealand allrounder Mitchell Santner.

New Zealand allrounder Mitchell Santner, who has been out of action for nine months owing to a bone defect in his right knee, has been cleared to start playing again. Santner, who scored 217 runs in five innings and took six wickets before he picked up the injury, is eyeing a comeback in the home series against Sri Lanka.

“He’s been bowling and batting and progressing really well with his knee, so club cricket’s the next step for him,” New Zealand’s high-performance manager Bryan Stronach said.

“We’ll assess to see how he’s going after that, whether he carries on playing club cricket, or we progress towards the other stuff.

“One thing we try to do with these guys is not get too ahead of ourselves. If you set too many goals in stone and it doesn’t work, then the disappointment is huge, whereas if you take each milestone as it comes, we can deal with that.”

New Zealand are currently in UAE where they will play the deciding third Test against Pakistan on Monday following which the BlackCaps will fly up to gear up for the series against Sri Lanka.

Both teams will be involved in two Tests, three ODIs and a one-off Twenty20 International. “The Sri Lankan stuff could be on the table if all goes well, but I think for him it’s let’s get through club cricket and then we’ll reassess from there,” Stronach added.

Santner was geared up to club cricket in Hamilton on Saturday before rain washed out the day.