Bacon for Barnes only Otago change

Otago seamer Matt Bacon bowls at the University Oval yesterday. PHOTO: GERARD O’BRIEN
Otago seamer Matt Bacon bowls at the University Oval yesterday. PHOTO: GERARD O’BRIEN
Otago has kept the faith with its out-of-form top-order and made one change to the side which lost to Auckland last week.

The Volts have scored just one batting bonus point in three games but have resisted making changes, opting instead to tweak the bowling line-up.

Former Wellington seamer Matt Bacon replaces Warren Barnes in the 12 for the Plunket Shield match against Central Districts which starts at the University Oval today.

Barnes’ absence comes as a surprise. The injury-prone fast bowler is fit apart from ‘‘one or two aches and pains’’. He also made a strong first-class debut, picking up six wickets in the 135-run loss to Auckland.

But Volts coach Rob Walter felt it was not worth the risk of playing Barnes in back-to-back four-day games.

‘‘We’ve obviously got a lot of limited-overs cricket coming up where he is going to be an integral part,’’ Walter said. ‘‘It is about being smart with how he is managed moving forward.’’

Either Bacon or Jacob Duffy will claim the last seaming spot in the starting XI with Neil Wagner an automatic selection and Michael Rae likely to start as well.

Central Districts has been bolstered by the return of Black Caps batsmen Ross Taylor and Tom Bruce while former Black Cap Jesse Ryder has scored 370 runs in four innings this season.

Openers George Worker and Grey Hay both scored centuries against Canterbury at Hagley Oval last week to set up a win by an innings and 86 runs.

The visiting side’s bowling unit has been boosted as well with Black Caps fast bowler Adam Milne named in the 12.

If it is Bacon who gets the start, the right-arm medium-pacer will be familiar with the opposition.

The 24-year-old grew up in Levin and played for Central Districts at age-group level as well as spending two seasons in the A side.

He transferred to Wellington two years ago and played three first-class games in 2016. His debut was against Otago in Queenstown and he picked up four wickets.

But the opportunities dried up and Bacon has moved south this summer ‘‘to grab every opportunity that comes’’.

He has certainly made an impact at club level, taking five for seven for Albion in the twenty20 final last month. His stock delivery is about 130kmh and he shapes the ball away from the right-handers.

He made a good early impression for Otago, snapping up five wickets during a warm-up match against Canterbury last month.

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