Cricket: Redmond may fill in as captain

Aaron Redmond
Aaron Redmond
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 province.

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 guidance.

''[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 Northern Districts.

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.