Cricket: Otago welcomes back NZ A representatives

Otago is almost back to full strength, with four New Zealand A players returning for its four-day match against Wellington in the capital, beginning tomorrow.

Opening batsmen Craig Cumming and Aaron Redmond return, along with bowling all-rounder Nathan McCullum and experienced medium pacer Warren McSkimming.

Coach Mike Hesson will return from leading New Zealand A and take over the reins from stand-in coach Mark Bracewell.

Bowling all-rounder Ian Butler is still recovering from a quadricep strain and has been ruled out.

He will play for his club Pelichet Bay in the Dunedin senior twenty/20 tournament this weekend but will limited his role to that of a specialist batsman.

Bracewell hopes Butler will be fit for Otago's last match of the season, against Canterbury in Christchurch later this month.

Batsmen Hamish Rutherford and Jordan Sheed, bowling all-rounder Sam Wells and opening bowler Anthony Bullick drop out of the 12.

Leighton Morgan retains his place in the side, although the opener will drop down to No 5 in the order.

"He took his opportunity in Queenstown better than the others," Bracewell said.

"He has had an unfortunate season. Every time he has looked as though he was going to come right he's picked up a wee injury.

But he is back to full fitness, has been batting well for Otago Country and deserves another crack."

Otago badly missed its New Zealand A foursome in its State Championship match with Auckland at the Queenstown Events Centre last week, when the Volts were routed by an innings and 84 runs.

"It was a good reminder to do the basics right.

You've got to shake off that one-day, twenty/20 legacy and get back to the disciplines required for the longer form," Bracewell said. "You've got to be a lot more patient."

Otago had chased width too often and never built enough pressure through bowling maidens, he said.

Surplus test squad members Brent Arnel and Jeetan Patel have been released to play for their provinces in the next round of the domestic four-day championship.

The pair were omitted from New Zealand's line-up for the first test against India, which started at Seddon Park here today.

Patel's off-spin will bolster Wellington, while uncapped pace bowler Arnel will play for Northern Districts against Auckland.

Northern Districts development player Jonathan Boult has been named as New Zealand's 12th man.


•By Adrian Seconi and NZPA

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