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Bond likely for tri-series
- Nathan Astle looks good for tour of India

New Delhi: New Zealand fast bowler Shane Bond, who is recovering from a back stress fracture, may not be fit in time for the team’s upcoming tour of India.

Bond is still a week away from returning to bowling in the nets after suffering the injury in Sri Lanka in May and New Zealand Cricket’s medical co-ordinator Warren Frost Monday made it clear that the bowler would not be rushed back to action.

“He is making very good progress but it’s a long season and we won’t be pushing things,” Frost told the New Zealand Herald website.

“He is pain-free which is a very good sign.”

With less than two months left before New Zealand play the first Test in Ahmedabad on October 8, the chances of their strike bowler playing the series are remote since he would need “at least six weeks” of build-up in the nets, starting with light four-over spells next week, before being even considered for a match.

The one-day triangular series, with Australia as the third team and starting on October 23, would be a more realistic target for Bond, who became the fastest New Zealander to reach 50 one-day International wickets when he raced to the mark in 27 matches.

However, Frost was positive about another injured player in the side, batsman Nathan Astle, being fit in time to play the Test matches.

“We’re just getting him to feel confident on the knee but we’re reasonably confident he can be there for the India series,” Frost said.

“He’s pretty happy with how things are progressing.”

Astle, New Zealand’s highest one-day International run scorer with 5540 runs from 174 matches, started batting again in the nets last week after the knee surgery in April.

Star allrounder Chris Cairns was also back bowling for English county Nottinghamshire and Frost said he was progressing well with an eye on the tri-series in India.

Cairns played unconvincingly as a batsman in Sri Lanka in May after a series of injuries hampered his comeback from a knee surgery.

Frost said two other injury-troubled bowlers, Jacob Oram and Daniel Vettori, were on track for India.

Oram suffered disc problems in his back in Sri Lanka but escaped any stress fracture while Vettori’s County stint with Nottinghamshire was cut short after he split the webbing between the spinning fingers of his left hand.

Vettori, who has returned home, sent down 57 overs in County cricket and took seven wickets before the hand problem flared up.

Things got worse as he was eventually admitted to Nottingham hospital with an infected arm, but Frost said he had recovered now.

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