New Zealand Cricket has officially confirmed that Daryl Mitchell will be absent from the 5th and final T20 International (T20I) of the home series against Pakistan. The match is scheduled to take place on Sunday, January 21, in Christchurch. The decision to release Mitchell from the squad was made with careful consideration of the star batter’s workload in the New Year.
New Zealand, already leading the series 4-0 and having dominated Pakistan in the previous encounters, will miss the services of Daryl Mitchell in the dead rubber. The team has decided to include all-rounder Rachin Ravindra in the squad for the final T20I.
Head coach Gary Stead emphasized the importance of ensuring Mitchell’s optimal performance in international cricket across all formats. Despite the absence of Mitchell, New Zealand remains confident, particularly after their commanding victory in the 4th T20I where Mitchell played a crucial role, scoring a match-winning 72 not out off 44 balls in partnership with Glenn Phillips.
“Rachin is coming off a period of rest himself and will bring a valuable skill set to the group in this final match as he continues his return to cricket,” Stead stated.
Rachin Ravindra, who made a significant impact in the ODI World Cup in India, last featured in the home ODI series against Bangladesh in December 2023. After a brief period of rest, he returned to action in a Super Smash game on January 15.
The uncertainty looms over star opener Devon Conway’s participation in the 5th T20I as the team awaits the matchday morning to make a decision. Conway missed the 4th T20I after testing positive for Covid-19, along with bowling coach Andre Adams. Chad Bowes served as cover for Conway in the previous match.
New Zealand, looking to complete a clean sweep of the T20I series with a 5-0 victory, faced challenges earlier in the series when stand-in captain Mitchell Santner tested positive for Covid-19. Santner, who missed the series opener, recovered and returned to lead the team in the 2nd and 3rd T20Is.
The upcoming challenge for New Zealand will be a 2-Test series against a visiting South African side, scheduled to commence from February 4.