New Zealand skipper Daniel Vettori is almost certain to miss the upcoming visit of England with his problematic Achilles injury.
The Black Caps all-rounder has not played a Test match since July 2012, with wicket-keeper Brendon McCullum deputising in the captaincy role during that time.
The 34-year-old hopes to be fit for the reverse tour at the start of the English summer, but has admitted defeat in his battle to feature in the three-match series against Alastair Cook's side in March.
"I'm hoping to be available for selection for Northern Districts' one-day campaign (starting on February 28), and then whatever happens from there happens," said Vettori.
"Achilles are funny things - they come and go with the pain, and I need to prove to not only the selectors, but myself, that I can manage back-to-back days of cricket.
"I won't be able to play any four-day cricket, so the Test matches against England may be a stretch for me. The tour to England is probably a more realistic goal."
New Zealand travel to England for the reverse series in May, where they will play two Tests and three one-day internationals.