Emerging Players Tournament

Squad: Jacob Oram (captain) Graham Aldridge, Todd Astle, Shane Bond, Derek De Boorder, Te Ahu Davis, James Franklin, Peter Fulton, Bruce Martin, Michael Papps, Jeetan Patel, Jesse Ryder, Hayden Shaw, Ross Taylor.

The New Zealand High Performance Academy team (NZHPA) consisted of young up-and-comers, seasoned first-class players and some Black Caps returning from injury. Paceman Shane Bond and all-rounder Jacob Oram’s development was the biggest positive to take from the series. Bond started shakily but gradually built up his accuracy and pace. By all accounts, the last few matches he was consistently bowling at good speed. Bond told media at the conclusion of the tournament that his line and length would rectify itself, as his rhythm was still to be found.

Oram played largely as a batsman for most of the tournament, slowly returning to his bowling behind the scenes. Test opener Michael Papps performed consistently well in his matches.

Two Twenty20 matches were played in the opening day of the series, resulting in a tie and a loss for the Academy team. After bowling the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS 2) out for 155, the New Zealanders stumbled to 4 for 43. However some middle-order resistance from Oram (29 off 22) and young Todd Astle (23 from 25) resurrected their chances. 14 runs were needed off the last over, however Graham Aldridge was last man out with one ball left, and the scores level.

After winning the toss again but batting first against the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA), the New Zealand side again began poorly with the bat, losing six wickets for just 80 runs. Many batsmen were guilty of looking for the boundary rather than building an innings. Hayden Shaw smashed 42 off 24 balls to push the score to 139 off their twenty overs. Despite the Indian side reaching the target with five wickets in the 19th over, Bond showed a marked improvement with three overs for 13 runs. Jeetan Patel and Bruce Martin took two wickets each.

The final scheduled Twenty20 match for the NZHPA was played against the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS 2). After bowling them out for 147, Michael Papps made a return to form with 50 off 53 balls, providing the foil for the run-chase. Oram and Franklin made contributions (20 and 21 not out respectively) however a yorker ensured that the New Zealanders fell four runs short of victory.

The first of seven one-day matches saw the Academy side win in comprehensive fashion. The New Zealanders posted an imposing 288 for seven off 50 overs, with Michael Papps again anchoring the side with 55 off 79 balls. James Franklin (67), Derek De Boorder (58 not out) and Todd Astle (48) also scored runs. AIS 2 never threatened the total, finishing with 161, Shane Bond putting his most impressive performance of the tournament with 3 for 31 off six overs. Off-spinner Bruce Martin was the star however, with 5 for 33.

A narrow loss followed against the Karnataka State in the next one-day match at Allan Border field. Batting first after Oram won the toss, the New Zealand side amassed 293 for 7. Jesse Ryder scored a brilliant 110 not out off 88 balls, after retiring hurt on 82. Michael Papps scored 47, and Shane Bond made 29 off 21, ensuring a large total was achieved. The Indian side began positively and took advantage of the fielding restrictions. Well placed at 207 for four, they lost wickets at regular intervals at slumped to 276 for eight. At this point the KSCA appealed for the light with two wickets and 18 runs off 3.2 overs remaining, and after applying the Duckworth Lewis system the Indians were declared the victors by four runs. Franklin and Te Ahu Davis took three wickets each, while Bond returned figures of two for 43 off 8.4 overs.

Michael Papps continued his impressive form in the following 50 over match against AIS 1. After batting first, Papps made 93, just falling short of batting through the entire innings. Jacob Oram scored his first half-century in the series with 63, and received good support from James Franklin (54) and Derek De Boorder (34) to post 314 for eight off 50 overs. In response, the Australians reached 16 with three batsmen down, after an aggressive opening spell by Shane Bond yielding two wickets. Despite a 127 run fourth wicket partnership, the Australian side were dismissed for 227, giving the NZHPA an 87 run victory. Part-time spinner Ross Taylor grabbed 5 for 42 to clean up the tail.

The next one-day match against AIS 2 marked the return of NZHPA captain Jacob Oram return to the bowling crease, as the New Zealanders bowled very economically at first use of the flat Sandgate pitch. Oram took a wicket with his first ball, and finished with one for 11 off 5.1 overs. Graham Aldridge and Jeetan Patel, who together conceded just 50 runs off their combined 20 overs, demonstrated the steady line and length required. Michael Papps hit 79 not out as wickets fell all around him regularly. It was an unbeaten last wicket stand of 25 with Te Ahu Davis that saw the New Zealand side to victory.

In the penultimate match of the tournament, the New Zealanders batting first on a slow Sandgate pitch against the Australian Institute of Sport 2. Apart from Jesse Ryder with 53, the Academy top order faltered until Todd Astle entered the fray at 99 for three. He played an innings of maturity well beyond his years, building partnerships and keeping the run rate ticking over. James Franklin (33) and Hayden Shaw (31 off 16 deliveries) help score to 265 for 8. Astle remained unbeaten on 78 off 98 balls. AIS 2 lost wickets consistently and were frustrated by the good lengths the New Zealanders achieved. Astle polished off his fine all-round performance with 3 wickets. Shane Bond, continuing to increase his pace with each game, took 1 for 25 off 7.5 overs. The Australian side were eventually dismissed for 207, giving the Academy team a win by 58 runs.

The NZHPC Academy and the Indian team KSCA played the final match of the Emerging Players Tournament on July 16. Batting first on Allan Border Field, the New Zealand side posted a healthy 319 for seven after 50 overs. Openers Michael Papps (45 from 47) and Jesse Ryder (92 off 99) set up a wonderful platform. Todd Astle continued his form with 72 off 58 deliveries, and combined with captain Jacob Oram (69 off 51) in a 115 fourth wicket stand. The Indian side took advantage of the flat pitch and chased the huge total to perfection, reaching the target with four overs to spare and just three wickets down. Despite teams the overall bowling performance, Shane Bond bowled with excellent pace.

The performances of Michael Papps, Jesse Ryder, Todd Astle and Jacob Oram were positives to result in the tournament. Also as importantly, Papps, Oram and Shane Bond came through unscathed and progressed well as the series carried on. New Zealand’s tour of Zimbabwe starts in early August.

Leave a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until they have been approved

More articles by Andrew Marmont