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2020/21 New Zealand Domestic Season

Kippax

International Captain
Our annual first-class draft thread:

A NZ cricket injury and eligibility sheet:


 
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NZTailender

I can't believe I ate the whole thing
If I were a betting man with money I'd put it on Otago to have a blinder this season.
 

Kippax

International Captain
You can be a betting man with some money, NZT.

I've been paying $250 upfront for the use of trustworthy NZ residents' Bet365 accounts! That offer is open to all the other very longtime posters btw. I can never do with too many of those.
 

Kippax

International Captain

....In the Twenty20 Super Smash, with no internationals scheduled between January 8 and February 21, all sides will be at full strength for the bulk of it.

The Firebirds defend their Plunket and Super Smash titles after a dream year under new coach Glenn Pocknall, in which Wellington Blaze also won the women’s T20. Not since all three formats were first contested 15 years ago by the men has any side achieved the clean sweep.

Wellington captain Michael Bracewell and his team after their win over Auckland in last season’s T20 final.

HAGEN HOPKINS/GETTY IMAGES
Wellington captain Michael Bracewell and his team after their win over Auckland in last season’s T20 final.

“It’s never been done but doesn’t mean it can’t be done. We wanted to do it last year. It’s certainly pie in the sky thinking but the fact that no one’s ever done it makes it really enticing and really cool to target,” Pocknall said.

Depth will be tested when the Black Caps are in action against West Indies and Pakistan while New Zealand A plays the respective A sides.

The first four rounds will be a test trial of sorts, although few spots look open in Gary Stead’s lineup after they beat India 2-0 in their last outing in whites.

“I’d imagine Gary would have 90 per cent of his first test team sorted. Maybe it’s one or two spots he’s looking at,” Pocknall said.

“The team performed so well in the home summer last year it’d be hard for guys to overtake anybody. If there’s injuries or somebody does something exceptional in these four rounds, then maybe…”

Here’s how the six squads shape up, with former internationals Graeme Aldridge and Peter Fulton the new head coaches.

AUCKLAND

Kyle Jamieson made a big impression against Virat Kohli and India last summer.

KAI SCHWOERER/GETTY IMAGES
Kyle Jamieson made a big impression against Virat Kohli and India last summer.

Coach: Heinrich Malan (second year)

Captain: Robbie O’Donnell

Last season: Plunket Shield 4th, Ford Trophy (50-over) champions, T20 Super Smash runnersup.

Contracted: Graeme Beghin, Jamie Brown, Mark Chapman, Louis Delport, Danru Ferns, Ben Horne, Ben Lister, Matt McEwan, Colin Munro, Robbie O’Donnell, Will O’Donnell, Glenn Phillips, Ollie Pringle, Sean Solia, Will Somerville, Ross ter Braak.

Black Caps contracted: Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Kyle Jamieson.

Prospects: Batsmen Jeet Raval (to ND) and Finn Allen (to Wellington) are gone but it’s a familiar strong lineup who went close to the white ball double last summer. Speedster Lockie Ferguson will be missed for the first four rounds, at the IPL and not getting game time.

Black Caps watch: Kyle Jamieson. Fresh from a breakout season he’s now a must pick in the test 13 at home, and will want to fly out of the blocks to stamp his considerable presence on opposing top orders.

NORTHERN DISTRICTS

Legspinner Ish Sodhi was leading Plunket Shield wicket-taker two seasons ago.

KAI SCHWOERER/GETTY IMAGES
Legspinner Ish Sodhi was leading Plunket Shield wicket-taker two seasons ago.
Coach: Graeme Aldridge (first year)

Captain: Joe Carter

Last season: Plunket Shield last, Ford Trophy 4th, T20 Super Smash last.

Contracted: James Baker, Peter Bocock, Dean Brownlie, Joe Carter, Katene Clarke, Henry Cooper, Anton Devcich, Mathew Fisher, Zak Gibson, Brett Hampton, Scott Kuggeleijn, Brett Randell, Jeet Raval, Tim Seifert, Anurag Verma, Joe Walker.

Black Caps contracted: Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling, Kane Williamson.

Prospects: Poor last season and will have few excuses this time, with all their internationals bar IPL trio Williamson, Boult and Santner available, and newcomer Raval out to prove a point up top. Then for the bulk of Super Smash everyone will be in, causing some selection nightmares for Aldridge’s all-stars.

Black Caps watch: Ish Sodhi. Still up with Santner as the top white ball spinners but with his ability should be higher in the test pecking order, currently led by Ajaz Patel. Consistency remains a work-on and a heap of red ball overs is the key (Sodhi was top shield wicket-taker two summers ago).

CENTRAL STAGS

A regular member of Black Caps test squads, Will Young of the Central Stags still awaits his fully fledged debut.

KAI SCHWOERER/GETTY IMAGES
A regular member of Black Caps test squads, Will Young of the Central Stags still awaits his fully fledged debut.

Coach: Aldin Smith (second year)

Captain: Greg Hay

Last season: Plunket Shield runnersup, Ford Trophy last, T20 Super Smash 4th.

Contracted: Doug Bracewell, Tom Bruce, Josh Clarkson, Dane Cleaver, Greg Hay, Jaydon Lennox, Christian Leopard, Adam Milne, Seth Rance, Brad Schmullian, Ben Smith, Blair Tickner, Ray Toole, Bayley Wiggins, Ben Wheeler, George Worker.

Black Caps contracted: Ajaz Patel, Ross Taylor, Will Young.

Prospects: A rollercoaster season last year with injuries striking, but with everyone fit, particularly their bowlers, the Stags field a daunting attack. Fingers crossed the long break has done Adam Milne good, and Ross Taylor’s more regular presence will lift them.

Black Caps watch: Will Young. Earned a Black Caps contract but luck just doesn’t seem to be with him to secure that first international. He will want to plunder early on and stave off some challengers for that test backup spot.

WELLINGTON

Now eligible for the Black Caps, Devon Conway starts the season with plenty of eyes on him, after topping all three runscoring charts.

HAGEN HOPKINS/GETTY IMAGES
Now eligible for the Black Caps, Devon Conway starts the season with plenty of eyes on him, after topping all three runscoring charts.

Coach: Glenn Pocknall (second year)

Captain: Michael Bracewell

Last season: Plunket Shield champions, Ford Trophy 5th, T20 Super Smash champions.

Contracted: Finn Allen, Hamish Bennett, Jakob Bhula, Michael Bracewell, Fraser Colson, Andrew Fletcher, Jamie Gibson, Lauchie Johns, Troy Johnson, Iain McPeake, Ollie Newton, Rachin Ravindra, Ben Sears, Michael Snedden, Logan van Beek, Peter Younghusband.

Black Caps contracted: Tom Blundell, Devon Conway, Jimmy Neesham.

Prospects: Allen, with a century against England to his name, bolsters the batting for last season’s dual champions who will fancy their chances again, but miss Neesham for the first month at IPL. Youngsters Rachin Ravindra and Ben Sears are two to watch, the latter a 145kmh quick who is rated highly and can rattle some cages.

Black Caps watch: Devon Conway. Top runscorer in all three formats, and now eligible for New Zealand selection, the South African may be the most watched cricketer these early rounds. No automatic ticket in yet, and maybe NZA will be his first taste of higher honours.

CANTERBURY

Allrounder Daryl Mitchell is a good buy for Canterbury and will be looking to further push his Black Caps claims.

GARETH COPLEY/GETTY IMAGES
Allrounder Daryl Mitchell is a good buy for Canterbury and will be looking to further push his Black Caps claims.

Coach: Peter Fulton (first year)

Captain: Cole McConchie

Last season: Plunket Shield 5th, Ford Trophy 3rd (beaten semifinalists), T20 Super Smash 5th

Contracted: Todd Astle, Chad Bowes, Jack Boyle, Leo Carter, Sean Davey, Cameron Fletcher, Andrew Hazeldine, Tyler Lortan, Ken McClure, Cole McConchie, Daryl Mitchell, Ed Nuttall, Fraser Sheat, Henry Shipley, Theo van Woerkom, Will Williams.

Black Caps contracted: Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls.

Prospects: Not the greatest season in 2019-20, and the return of former skipper Fulton as coach and gain of versatile allrounder Daryl Mitchell from Hamilton (replacing the retired Andrew Ellis) is a good start. Matt Henry is a regular menace in Plunket Shield and will be a handful again on early season pitches.

Black Caps watch: Henry Nicholls. Not in danger of losing his test place yet, still with an average of nearly 40, but 12 test innings without a half-century is a worry and requires a couple of big knocks for the confidence, with other middle order contenders looming.

OTAGO

Otago allrounder Michael Rippon was summoned to the Black Caps winter training camps.

KAI SCHWOERER/GETTY IMAGES
Otago allrounder Michael Rippon was summoned to the Black Caps winter training camps.

Coach: Rob Walter (fifth year)

Captain: Hamish Rutherford

Last season: Plunket Shield 3rd, Ford Trophy runnersup, T20 Super Smash 3rd (beaten semifinalists)

Contracted: Matt Bacon, Neil Broom, Max Chu, Jacob Duffy, Josh Finnie, Dean Foxcroft, Camden Hawkins, Nick Kelly, Anaru Kitchen, Jarrod McKay, Dale Phillips, Michael Rae, Mitch Renwick, Michael Rippon, Hamish Rutherford, Nathan Smith.

Black Caps contracted: None.

Prospects: With few stars and no current internationals, a very consistent last season with a couple of agonising playoff defeats. Similar personnel again, after the likes of Nick Kelly and Dean Foxcroft proved handy additions.

Black Caps watch: Michael Rippon. A wildcard for international selection but the South African batsman and left-arm wrist spinner is eligible now and was summoned to the NZC winter camps. Averaged 72 in the shield last summer and spin bowling allrounders are always sought after.
 

Kippax

International Captain

....Hamish Rutherford has been listed as opening alongside Kitchen, with specialist opener Camden Hawkins named to come in at first drop.

It would not be a surprise, though, if Otago tinkered with that order to help spread the experience throughout the top five more evenly.

Rutherford and Kitchen are the two most experienced players, so perhaps one of them may bat further down the order.

Max Chu will take the gloves and the Volts have named a potent bowling line-up featuring Duffy, Michael Rae and Matthew Bacon.

Duffy was the leading wicket-taker in the competition last season and will spearhead the attack again.

Talented all-rounders Nathan Smith and Michael Rippon will help lengthen the batting line-up which has been depleted in the absence of Broom and Foxcroft.

Travis Muller will probably be shouldered with the 12th man responsibilities.

The Volts climbed their way up to third before Covid-19 cut the Plunket Shield short last season.

Otago team to play Auckland:

Hamish Rutherford (captain), Anaru
Kitchen, Camden Hawkins, Mitch Renwick,
Nick Kelly, Nathan Smith, Michael Rippon, Max
Chu, Jacob Duffy, Michael Rae, Matthew
Bacon, Travis Muller.
 

vandem

State Vice-Captain
ND news includes: "Northern Districts’ Tim Seifert is unavailable for selection for the first four rounds of the Plunket Shield due to having been picked up as a standby player in the IPL."

 

Kippax

International Captain
Similar luck for Athlai as when Jeets got his ECB bowling coach job and promptly retired on him, just after we'd finished our first-class draft last season.
 
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straw man

International Coach
Has Broom retired from FC for reals this time? I see they've gone for Chu as wk as well.

Kippax, do you have a clip of J McKay from Otago bowling?
 

straw man

International Coach
Looks fairly raw and I think he commented on working on run-up and falling away in an article I saw. Only 20 though.
 

Kippax

International Captain
Yes Howsie was in the domestic thread last season saying the low 140s youth Matthew Fisher was going to Otago, but it didn't pan out. Rob Walter must've watched him in the vault and decided he was the hittable fast-meh-dium type that Bahnz sometimes talks about.
 
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Kippax

International Captain
Yes Vandem really is the only ND poster we've ever had that you could trust the word of.

It's no surprise to me Kelly had to leave all his Nelson Muntz-tier of old friends before he became the above-average white ball domestic player we always thought he could be.
 

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