Sydney, Feb 05: A knee injury is threatening to force New Zealand paceman Kyle Mills out of the World Cup. Mills, who has been troubled by knee problems for the past year, aggravated the injury playing against Australia in Perth on Jan 28 and has been in pain ever since.
New Zealand coach John Bracewell said Mills had been prescribed painkilling tablets to alleviate his discomfort but faced the likelihood of surgery if the problem continued.
"It aches through the night, so it`s a call that if the painkillers don`t work, he will probably go home and have his operation and miss the World Cup," Bracewell told reporters in Brisbane on Monday.
"He thinks he can get through the bowling all right but he`s just not getting any rest or recovery and that`s going to eat away on him in a tournament situation.
"We`ve been trying to nurse him through and we can see he`s limping every time he slows down.
"There`s a degree of so much desire to want to be on the bus, but he hasn`t slept for three nights with the pain."
Mills is a key figure in New Zealand`s World Cup plans and was expected to open the bowling with Shane Bond, who is also battling injury problems.
"The whole team are keen for him to try and play through it, because we know the value of Kyle Mills as a swing bowler and how he`s bowled with the new ball," Bracewell said.
"He`s been a tremendous performer for us and would be a loss to our campaign. That`s why we`ve been so patient, holding him back."
A decision on whether Mills will play in Tuesday`s tri-series one-day international against England will be delayed until the day of the match and will depend on how he reacts to the painkillers.
The winner of the match will join Australia in the three-match finals starting in Melbourne on Friday while the loser will bow out. Both teams are desperate to make the finals but Bracewell said missing out would not be the end of the world.
"A loss would hurt in the short term but looking at the big picture with three games to go against Australia at home, I think we`re going to get sufficient cricket leading up to the World Cup," Bracewell said.
"Guys are over here to do well but they also understand there`s a big picture."