NZ test squad receive COVID-19 vaccines ahead of England trip


(Reuters) - New Zealand Cricket (NZC) said on Tuesday all of its home-based players heading to England for a two-match test series and the World Test Championship final have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The New Zealand government said last month it would allow athletes to jump the queue in the country's vaccine rollout to allow them to participate in events of "national significance".

The country has also started administering vaccinations to its athletes ahead of their departure for the July 23-Aug. 8 Tokyo Olympics.

The cricket team will travel to England for a two-test series starting on June 2 before facing India in the ICC World Test Championship final on June 18 at Southampton.

NZC posted a photo on Twitter of paceman Neil Wagner getting his injection on Tuesday.

"He's the last of our New Zealand-based players to receive the first of two doses ahead of departure to England in May," NZC tweeted.

Test players Kane Williamson, Mitchell Santner, Trent Boult and Kyle Jamieson are currently playing in the Indian Premier League.

ESPNCricinfo reported that New Zealand may need to "patch up" the test side against England, as players from the IPL would need extended quarantine with Britain adding India to its travel "red-list" on Friday.

All-rounder Colin de Grandhomme said he had returned to training following ankle surgery and would be ready to play when needed.

"Since I've had the surgery the ankle has felt real good and it seems to keep getting better and it feels normal again for a change," De Grandhomme was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.

"Looks like I'm tracking well at the moment and should be ready to go for ball one if I'm needed."

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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