WELLINGTON: In-form all-rounder Mitchell Santner will miss the upcoming Test series with England to undergo knee surgery, New Zealand Cricket said Wednesday.
Officials said Santner would be sidelined for six to nine months, which could also jeopardise planned stints in the Indian Premier League and English county cricket.
The 26-year-old was omitted from New Zealand's 12-man squad for the two-Test series against England starting at Eden Park on March 22.
He was in fine form for the one-day series against England, hitting two half centuries.
NZC said he felt some discomfort while playing and scans showed a "bone defect" had deteriorated and needed surgery.
"Mitchell is a key player in all three formats for us, so we'll certainly miss him in the upcoming series," coach Mike Hesson said.
"It's important though that he gets this fixed and we have him back for what is a big next 18 months for us."
There was some good news for New Zealand, with wicketkeeper BJ Watling returning from a hip injury.
Batsman Ross Taylor was also named in the squad after missing the final ODI against England following a thigh injury that was aggravated during the previous match when he scored 181.
"BJ is a proven performer at Test level for us and brings a lot to the group both on and off the field," selector Gavin Larsen said.
Spinning all-rounder Todd Astle has also been called into the squad as a like-for-like replacement for Santner.
New Zealand: Jeet Raval, Tom Latham, Kane Williamson (capt), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, Colin de Grandhomme, BJ Watling, Todd Astle, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, Matt Henry, Trent Boult/