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Nathan Astle ruled out

Mohali: New Zealand’s star batsman Nathan Astle will miss the upcoming tri-series against India and Australia due to an injury, the team manager said on Tuesday.

However, Astle who played a key role in saving the first Test in Ahmedabad, will be available for the second and final Test starting on Thursday, manager Lindsay Crocker said.

The batsman will fly back before the tri-series opener between India and New Zealand in Chennai on October 23 to cure his injured left knee.

“Nathan aggravated his left knee injury early on this tour and is returning home to have the injury examined by a specialist,” Crocker said.

“It is difficult to ascertain the exact nature or extent of the injury. But the team’s tour medical panel feels it is unlikely he will aggravate the injury further by playing in the second Test.”

The right-hander was in superb form in Ahmedabad last week and helped his side avoid defeat, scoring 103 in the first innings and a fighting 51 not out in the second innings.

He became the first New Zealand batsman to score a Test century in India since 1976-77.

“The aim of sending him home is to try to ensure he is fit for the home series against Pakistan and South Africa,” Crocker said. Astle will be replaced by Chris Nevin in the ODI squad.

Aussies arrive on October 22

World champions Australia will arrive in New Delhi on October 22 to participate in the tri-series.

The Aussies, currently involved in a two-Test home series against Zimbabwe, will be playing their first match, a day-nighter against India, in Gwalior on October 26.

Ricky Ponting’s men will then face New Zealand in Faridabad on October 29. The Aussies’ remaining matches are against India (Mumbai—November 1 and Bangalore — November 12) and New Zealand (Pune — November 3 and Guwahati — November 9).

The final is scheduled in Calcutta on November 18.

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