A returning Jordan Morrow is the surprise selection as the South Canterbury cricket team look to bounce back and take maximum points against Mid-Canterbury in their second Hawke Cup round-robin match.
There are two changes from the 12-man squad that lost on the first innings to North Otago last weekend, with batsman and part-time spinner Maulik Patel coming into the side for the unavailable Srinivas KS. Morrow, who made his Hawke Cup debut in 2006, replaces Glenn Matthews, who is out for up to three weeks with an injured hamstring after bowling only two overs against North Otago.
There is no room for Celtic batsman Matt Mealings, with South Canterbury coach Richard Davidson suggesting he needed to score more runs at club level to force his way back into the team.
Patel is playing his cricket for Old Boys/Collegians in Christchurch, but had played for South Canterbury in this year’s pre-season and for South Canterbury age-group teams while he was at Timaru Boys’ High School, before finishing in 2007.
Davidson said the squad’s depth was being tested early, but “maximum points” were needed from the game in Ashburton tomorrow.
Davidson said the team had been working on their batting this week, the area that let them down when they were all out for 213 last Saturday.
“We’ve been working on our shot selection and batting [for long periods of] time,” Davidson said. “We need at least one of the top order to get a score, and a few to bat around him.”
Mid-Canterbury were beaten by an innings and eight runs by Southland last weekend, which means the race for first or second in the group, and an automatic Hawke Cup challenge against holders North Otago, hits a crucial point for both teams this weekend.
South Canterbury beat Mid-Canterbury by eight wickets in a pre-season one-day match at Ashburton a month ago.
Davidson said the pitch took a lot of spin, so he had four spinners ready to go, with Craig Davies, Jacob Naylor, Sam Carlaw and Patel all able to extract turn.
Naylor has emerged as one of the finds of the season for South Canterbury.
His unbeaten 41 and 23 at Aorangi Park last weekend, as well as being a spin option, made him tough to drop, according to Davidson.
“He’s become very hard to leave out.
“He’s batted three times for [South Canterbury] and hasn’t got out.
“He’s an integral member of the team.”
The efforts of the South Canterbury bowlers were largely overlooked against North Otago. Kevin Teahen took four for 86, while Craig Hinton also took two wickets.
The pair will shoulder most of the pace-bowling duties without the more express pace of Matthews. Davidson said despite Mid Canterbury’s heavy defeat last weekend, they had the players to threaten.
Bowlers Richard Print and Ryan Cockburn and batsman Des Kruger had all punished South Canterbury in the past and could do so again when play gets underway at the Ashburton Domain at 10.30am.
South Canterbury (squad): Dan Laming (c), Jeremy Liddy, Craig Hinton, Kevin Teahen, Jacob Naylor, Sam Carlaw, Jordan Morrow, James Laming, Alex McKenzie, Maulik Patel, Richard Preston, Craig Davies (one to be omitted).