“His currency is weight of runs, isn’t it? To do that in domestic cricket and show that he’s the next person in line is still really possible to do,” Stead said. “He’s still relatively young in his career – he’s only early 30s  – we definitely don’t see it as the end for him. It’s definitely a setback but there’s no reason why he can’t make it back again.”
“It’s a very tough decision,” Stead said. “I mean, Henry has been a big part of the Test squad for 56 Tests and so whenever you leave a player out then it weighs heavy with you and it’s a tough decision to make. But we just felt it was time for Rachin in Test cricket and we obviously know the talent he is and feel that he will make a really good fist of it at this stage of his career.
“Look, it’s a tough conversation. They are not easy to have. He’s a great person; he always does the little things really well, which you guys would never see. That’s what makes it hard in a decision like this.”
Stead: Santner is the best spinner in NZ
“Mitch Santner, in our opinion right now, is the best spinner in New Zealand,” Stead said. “He’s been bowling beautifully and certainly in New Zealand conditions as well. He provides the options of knowing to hold and attack. I think we’re going to need that throughout the series.”
Williamson, Blundell, Jamieson ready for first Test
Jamieson might also play for New Zealand XI against the visiting South Africans in a three-day warm-up game, which begins on January 29 at Lincoln’s Bert Sutcliffe’s Oval.
“The three guys with injury concerns – Kane, Kyle and Tom – I’ve spoken to them all,” Stead said. “They are all tracking really well. All training hard. Kyle starts playing, Tom Blundell has had a couple of big days of training, which is encouraging that he has got through that without any further feeling in his hamstring. So, we are really confident that him and Kane will be ready for the first Test.”
‘Will O’Rourke has got something about him’
“I think Hamilton… what we saw in white-ball cricket there has got a bit more bounce into it,” Stead said. “Will O’Rourke has certainly bowled well there this year domestically. In terms of Will himself, he’s a young guy who is emerging and obviously emerging pretty quickly. He has the ability to get some good batsmen out with the bounce he gets in particular.
“He looks like he’s a handful to most players. You certainly get that feeling from talking to people who face him in the nets as well – this guy has got something about him.”