It is not quite the crisis New Zealand Cricket is having
to cope with but Otago has its own captaincy issue.
Volts skipper and wicketkeeper Derek de Boorder was named in
the Black Caps twenty/20 team and will miss three domestic
twenty/20 games and one Plunket Shield match for the
Team-mate Jimmy Neesham will also join de Boorder on the
tour, with regular Black Caps Brendon and Nathan McCullum,
taking Otago's quota of players to four.
Striker bowler Neil Wagner has been named in the test squad
and will join the national side next week. Coach Vaughn
Johnson said having players selected in the national team was
a mixed blessing.
''We have a fair bit of hard work to do before we announce
the side [this] afternoon,'' Johnson said.
''We have to fill the gap left by Derek and James but the
good thing about it for Otago cricket is we have two new
Black Caps. That's the most positive thing about the story.
''In terms of what we do, it is a concern but that is just
part of it, really."
Michael Bracewell shapes as the most likely replacement
behind the stumps, while former captain Aaron Redmond could
fill in for de Boorder for the next few weeks.
Redmond replaced long-serving captain Craig Cumming last
season but a horrific run of form resulted in his being
dropped from all three formats. De Boorder replaced him as
captain and has retained the role this season.
Redmond, though, is in a better space with his game and, as a
stop-gap, is arguably the best option. He is an experienced
campaigner, a well-respected team member and has a sound
grasp of the game.
''There are a number of options,'' Johnson said.
''But there are enough senior members in the side that
whoever takes the role will have plenty of support and
''[Redmond] has performed really well without the captaincy,
so you have to weigh those things up,'' Johnson added.
Redmond has scored 539 runs in five first-class games this
season, at an average of 53.90.
Last season, with the burden of captaincy, he managed just
157 runs at 14.27.
All-rounder Sam Wells might be another option or perhaps even
Ian Butler. Both have plenty of theories on the game.
Neesham's absence will generate more debate. He has performed
well in first-class cricket this summer with 14 wickets at
34.78 and 275 runs at 39.28, including a century against
Left-arm spinner Nick Beard has not played a game for Otago
this season and will come into consideration alongside
batsman Darren Broom and all-rounder Ian Robertson.
Jacob Duffy has had plenty of success against Northern
Districts and will compete for a starting spot with James
McMillan. Wagner is likely to spearhead the attack.
Spinner Mark Craig has performed well for Otago this summer
and Ian Butler is Otago's leading wicket-taker and has also
been in good touch with the bat.