Friday, 1 December 2006

Otago vs Sri Lanka

Given the weather much of the country has been experiencing in the past few days, the good people of Dunedin have been lucky to see much of the Otago vs Sri Lanka match. In the end they have actually been able to see a reasonable amount of cricket the first day and a bit. Sri Lanka will be glad of the batting practice and most of their batsmen have managed to spend a fair amount of time in the middle, Sanath Jayasuriya's first-ball duck being the obvious exception. But the Sri Lankans probably won't be so pleased with the quality of the opposition. Here is the Otago squad for the game:

CD Cumming (captain), JW Sheed, AJ Redmond, GR Todd, NT Broom, GJ Hopkins, NL McCullum, SB Haig, BE Scott, CM Smith, GS Shaw, MJ Harvie

Only captain Craig Cumming is anywhere near selection for an international team and at best he is an outside chance for a call-up. The bowling attack consists of two honest toilers in Gareth Shaw (49 wickets at 25.22) and Bradley Scott (86 wickets at 28.32) an off-spinner with an average over 40 (Nathan McCullum) and two newcomers (Mathew Harvie and Craig Smith) while the batting line-up only includes two established players with batting averages over 30 (Cumming with 34.40 and Broom with 31.75).

Otago is not one of the country's stronger sides at the moment and appears even weaker when players like James McMillan and David Sewell have been removed from the line-up.

As a result Sri Lanka are unlikely to get the kind of hard match they need to get themselves ready for a test match. And New Zealand has missed an opportunity to give some of its key and fringe players an opportunity to show off their talents. Both sides might both have been better off if a match versus an Academy or 'A' side had been played instead.

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