Wellington: New Zealand batsman Kane Williamson has been ruled out of the opening Test against the West Indies starting in Dunedin on Tuesday with an injured thumb.
His withdrawal opens the way for Aaron Redmond to return to the side after a five-year absence.
Williamson, who bats at number three, fractured his left thumb playing against Bangladesh in late October, and captain Brendon McCullum said it was always going to be a close call whether he would be fit for the first West Indies Test.
"It was a tough decision, but in the end it was a touch too early for Kane," said McCullum when he named the playing eleven on Monday.
"He probably could have played, but in the grand scheme of the season we've got in front of us and how valuable he is to us, we saw it as a more safe option to let him miss this one out and have another week to recover."
The loss of Williamson, a handy spin bowler, has ensured a start for spinner Ish Sodhi, who made his international debut against Bangladesh two months ago.
New Zealand: Brendon McCullum (captain), Corey Anderson, Trent Boult, Peter Fulton, Aaron Redmond, Hamish Rutherford, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling, Doug Bracewell (12th man).