Otago all-rounder Jimmy Neesham has put the Volts' top
order on notice and has vowed to work on his consistency with
The talented left-hander wants to bat in the top five and
believes that is one of the best ways to improve his chances
of playing more international cricket.
Neesham played three one-dayers and three twenty/20 games for
New Zealand on the tour of South Africa. While he had limited
success and has lost his place in both squads, the experience
has whetted his appetite for more and he has a plan to win
his spot back.
While just about everyone can lay claim to some all-round
ability - Chris Martin being the notable exception - players
who can genuinely command a place in the team with both the
ball and the bat are a rare breed.
Neesham has provided glimpses of that kind of potential,
particularly in the one-day format.
He is an aggressive batsman who strikes the ball cleanly. He
looks as though he could hit every delivery to, or over, the
In 12 one-day games, he has scored 234 runs at an average of
33.42. With a bit more patience, a lot more runs will come.
He is still honing his skills with the ball, but the
22-year-old has fashioned a useful record so far with 17
wickets at 25.29.
If he can transfer that sort of success to international
cricket, Neesham can look forward to a long career in the
Black Caps. That is certainly what he has planned.
''For me to make contributions to that team I need to be able
to bowl seven, eight, nine or 10 overs a game rather than
three or four,'' Neesham said.
''So, it is just about consistency and trying to grow into
that third seamer's role. At the moment I'm more of a fourth
or fifth seamer at that level.
''With the batting, I've just got to keep doing what I'm
doing and keep scoring runs in domestic cricket.
''The Black Caps are in search of a Jacob Oram or a Chris
Cairns ... and they've tried a few people. That is definitely
a target for me - that No 6, No 7 role in the test matches
and bowling a few overs.''
Neesham, who scored his maiden first-class century this
summer, will hope to press his selection claims today.
The Volts are hosting Auckland in a Plunket Shield game at
the University Oval. It is a crucial game for the twenty/20
champions. Otago trails Central Districts by 13 points but,
with a maximum of 40 points still at stake, the Volts are
firmly in contention to pick up a second national banner this
Neesham batted at No 8 for Otago in his last first-class
match, in December, but will probably bat one or two spots
Hamish Rutherford and Ian Butler, on international duty, are
both missing from the side which beat Northern Districts by
eight wickets in Queenstown earlier this month. James
McMillan is back from injury and replaces Blair Soper, while
young fast bowler Jacob Duffy has a minor quad injury.
Darren Broom is likely to bat at No 3, and Michael Bracewell
move up one to open with Aaron Redmond.
Neil Broom should bat in his regular spot at No 4, with Sam
Wells at No 5 and Derek de Boorder and Neesham at No 6 and No
Neesham would like to bat at No 5 but knows he has to earn
''The long-term goal for me is to bat No 5 in first-class
cricket, so every game I play is a stepping stone to that
role. The only thing you can do is keep scoring runs and keep
putting your name up there.''
While Neesham was in South Africa with the Black Caps, Otago
kept winning. He got up early to listen to the twenty/20
final with Black Caps and Otago team-mate Nathan McCullum,
and felt as though he had missed out, once the messages and
photographs of Otago's success started coming through on
While he would like to be still with the Black Caps, he is
happy to be back in the Otago environment. Auckland welcomes
back fast bowler Matt Quinn, with Kyle Mills on Black Caps
University Oval, starts today
Otago: Aaron Redmond, Michael Bracewell, Darren Broom,
Neil Broom, Sam Wells, Derek de Boorder (captain), Jimmy
Neesham, Mark Craig, Neil Wagner, James McMillan, Iain
Robertson, Nick Beard.
Auckland: Gareth Hopkins (captain), Michael Barry,
Michael Bates, Craig Cachopa, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie
Ferguson, Michael Guptill-Bunce, Dusan Hakaraia, Anaru
Kitchen, Bruce Martin, Chris Martin, Matt Quinn.