Chu set on making most of opportunity

Max Chu is probably the only player in the Otago team who can explain the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method.

The 19-year-old is studying statistics and data science at the University of Otago and numbers are a passion for the Volts gloveman.

But no-one will need a slide rule to keep track of the milestone he will bring up today.

The former New Zealand under-19 player will make his twenty20 debut when the team plays Auckland at Eden Park Outer Oval this afternoon.

The left-hander made three first-class appearances for the Otago first-class side at the end of last season. But his pathway has largely been blocked by Mitchell Renwick, who is more of a batsman who has embraced the opportunity to keep.

However, with Otago fielding two frontline spinners and another couple of part-timers, the selectors have opted for a specialist behind the sticks.

It is wonderful opportunity for Chu.

"There is always nerves when you are selected to go up a level," Chu said.

"I think that is natural and I’m just looking forward to the opportunity.

"As a young kid all you want to do is play for your province and I’m lucky enough to get that opportunity. I just want to go out there, have fun and hopefully contribute to a Volts win."

"[Coach Rod Walter] obviously thought it was a good opportunity and my role is to keep well and contribute at the end with the bat."

Chu is a highly rated young keeper. He played four games for New Zealand at the Under-19 World Cup in 2017-18 and has made four appearances for various New Zealand XIs.

If Otago uses its full complement of spinners, he will have to be on his game. The Volts have plenty of variety.

Michael Rippon sends down left-arm wrist spin, while Dean Foxcroft and Josh Finnie are right-arm off-spinners and Anaru Kitchen is a left-arm spinner.

"It definitely will be a challenge. The spinners we’ve got are really good bowlers."

Chu felt his friendly rivalry with Renwick was bringing the best out in both men.

"Mitch is a fantastic player and we get on really well. We train a lot together and it is about doubling your training rather than splitting it," he responded when asked how much time he put into his batting compared with his glove work.

"I’m keeping as much as I can and batting as much as I can."

Auckland was tipped out of the competition in the preliminary final last season by eventual winners Central Districts. Otago finished a distant fourth with three wins and five losses. Five wins has typically been enough to make the playoffs.

Auckland has named a formidable line-up featuring Colin Munro, Martin Guptill and Corey Anderson, who is set to make his debut for the Aces. Captain Craig Cachopa will play his 50th T20 for Auckland, while Glenn Phillips is closing in on 2000 T20 runs.


Otago v Auckland

Eden Park Outer Oval, today, 3.10pm
Hamish Rutherford, Neil Broom, Nick Kelly, Dean Foxcroft, Anaru Kitchen, Josh Finnie, Michael Rippon, Nathan Smith, Max Chu (captain), Jacob Duffy, Michael Rae, Dale Phillips.
Auckland: Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Glenn Phillips, Craig Cachopa (captain), Corey Anderson, Mark Chapman, Sean Solia, Ronnie Hira, Kyle Jamieson, Mitchell McClenaghan, Will Somerville, Robert O’Donnell, Ben Lister.

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