New Zealand coach Gary Stead hopes to have captain Kane Williamson back for their three-test tour of England in June but says they will need to manage his workload to prevent the recurrence of an elbow injury.
Williamson, 31, missed the home series against Bangladesh and South Africa with a tendon injury in his left elbow that has been troubling him over the last 18 months.
While Kane has returned to action in the Indian Premier League, Stead said there was no need to rush his return to the 'Black Caps'.
"The catch-22 is, Kane comes back early, scores a hundred, and his elbow is gone again, and then we'd be in the same place," Stead told reporters on Tuesday.
"Kane, like any of us, needs breaks at certain times. He's dying to play cricket for New Zealand again, I can absolutely assure you of that, but we can't burn him out in the future.
"We have to be smart around those things."
Williamson, who reached out to India great Sachin Tendulkar and Australia's Steve Smith for advice on recovering from elbow injuries, told reporters in February he was so tired of dealing with the elbow there were times he wanted to "cut it off".
Tom Latham led the side against Bangladesh and South Africa, as well as in the limited-overs home series against the Netherlands, in Williamson's absence.
"At the moment, Kane is just out of that role because he hasn't been available for us," Stead said. So when Kane comes back, I expect him to be captain for us again."