Newly promoted Otago captain Sam Wells acknowledges he
has been thrown in the deep end.
The 28-year-old all-rounder has only played four twenty/20
games for his province but will find himself leading the side
out when it plays Northern Districts at Seddon Park in
Hamilton tonight. Wells is the first to admit he does not
have a lot leadership experience. To add to the pressure, the
game is being televised live. Gulp.
But with regular Otago captain Derek de Boorder on national
duty for the next few weeks, Wells has been asked to fill in.
''First and foremost it is a huge honour to be asked to
captain your province and it is a very proud moment for me
and my family,'' he said.
''It is a big challenge for me because I have not played a
whole lot of twenty/20 cricket, so I guess it is a thrown in
the deep end situation.
''It is live on TV, so there is no easing in with a Plunket
Shield game at some provincial backwater, but I'm looking
forward to the challenge.''
Asked about his captaincy experience, Wells said it was
''I coached University-Grange for quite a few years and we
went to the national championships with them. I think I've
done Otago A. I can't remember but I'm sure I've done them.''
Wells, though, is a thinker. He loves discussing the game and
debating cricket theories. He is also a student of the game,
much to the amusement of his team-mates who think he can be a
That knowledge, though, and the support of senior players
such as former captain Aaron Redmond, is where Wells derives
''I back myself at the tactical side of the game as long as I
feel I have the support and the backing of my team-mates.
''It is going to be a mutual process rather than a
dictatorial one. It is about working together with your
team-mates rather than calling all the shots yourself.''
Twenty/20 is a fast-paced game and there is not always time
to run the team by committee. Wells is aware he will have to
think on his feet but has a solid blueprint he hopes will
work and a couple of plan Bs should it all start falling
''There will be things which crop up in the game which may
mean making a change, but I think there is a lot of
pre-planning that can be done more in T20 than perhaps, say,
four-day cricket. But if there are calls to be made, then
that is what I'll have to do.
''We have lots of options with the ball and with the bat as
well. The real key is your top three or four batsman and top
bowlers have to stand up. Hopefully, the game will go to plan
and not too many calls will have to be made.''
Wells flats with de Boorder so he has received plenty of
advice from him, and he has also talked to Nathan McCullum
and coach Vaughn Johnson. Redmond is another good sounding
board and Wells hoped to catch up with retired former captain
Northern Districts shapes as a formidable opponent. The home
side has won its first three games, including a 24-run win
against Otago in the opening game of the tournament.
It was a game Otago let slip through its grasp, Wells said.
The Volts picked up four quick wickets but Northern's
overseas pair of James Foster (48) and Steve Croft (81)
grabbed the initiative with a fabulous partnership of 126 for
the fifth wicket.
Northern has named a very strong line-up featuring
internationals Tim Southee, Kane Williamson, BJ Watling and
Daniel Flynn as well as experienced campaigner Scott Styris
and overseas professional Croft.
Hamilton, tonight, 7pm
• Otago: Aaron Redmond, Hamish Rutherford, Ryan ten
Doeschate, Neil Broom, Michael Bracewell, Sam Wells
(captain), Mark Craig, Ian Butler, Neil Wagner, Nick Beard,
Jacob Duffy, Iain Robertson, James Fuller.
• Northern Districts: Scott Styris (captain), Graeme
Aldridge, Brent Arnel, Steven Croft, Anton Devcich, Daniel
Flynn, James Marshall, Bradley Scott, Tim Southee, BJ
Watling, Kane Williamson, Brad Wilson.