The fast bowler has been sidelined since December with a stress fracture of his back

New Zealand are hopeful that fast bowler Lockie Ferguson will be able to make his return from a back injury in the T20I series against Bangladesh at the end of March.

Ferguson has been sidelined since the middle of December, when he was diagnosed with a stress fracture shortly after the T20I series against West Indies, in which he claimed a career-best 5 for 21 in Auckland. The plan put in place for Ferguson’s comeback involves a couple of club cricket outings this month before he links up with the New Zealand squad around the ODIs against Bangladesh to further assess his recovery.

“At this stage, he will meet up with the team around the time of the one-day series to put finishes touches on things and make sure the intensity is where we want it to be then if all goes well he’ll be available for the Bangladesh T20 series,” New Zealand coach Gary Stead told reporters in Wellington.

“You never know how people react to it [the injury], but in Lockie’s advantage he’s strong, he’s fit and he works very hard at that S&C [strength and conditioning] area. Hopefully all those things will have helped him in a quick recovery.”

Ferguson is one of six current New Zealand players to have IPL deals – there are seven in all including Adam Milne – while Ish Sodhi will also work with the Rajasthan Royals in an administrative role. The starting date for the tournament is yet to be confirmed, but Stead is preparing to not have all his first-choice names available for the latter matches of the season against Bangladesh.

Kane Williamson, Jimmy Neesham, Trent Boult, Mitchell Santner and Kyle Jamieson are the other players heading to India in April. Mark Chapman and Hamish Bennett are part of the 13-man squad against Australia but it appears likely there will be opportunity for others – potentially including the hugely talented Finn Allen – against Bangladesh.

“We are working through the final stages of that,” Stead said. “Don’t think we’ll scrap everyone from it… but think there will be cases where we say to some of those guys going away, don’t bother playing this series.”

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