Muller making most of circumstances

Otago seamer Travis Muller takes a break during a training session at Logan Park earlier this...
Otago seamer Travis Muller takes a break during a training session at Logan Park earlier this week. PHOTO GREGOR RICHARDSON
There is opportunity in chaos.

That is how Judith Collins ended up driving the bus for the New Zealand National Party.

And it is how Otago seamer Travis Muller has started the past three games for Volts.

In any other year, the talented right-arm seamer would have probably been confined to a role in the nets.

That would have more to do with circumstance than talent.

As a qualifying player, his route into the side is messy.

Essentially, he was competing with wrist spinner Michael Rippon and all-rounder Dean Foxcroft for one of the two restricted spots.

Rippon is well established and Foxcroft is a batsmen on the rise. Opportunities were limited but Covid-19 has worked in his advantage.

Foxcroft has been unable to return from South Africa to take up his contract this season due to New Zealand’s border restrictions.

That has cleared the way for Muller. He has started in all three first-class games this season and has been named in the side for the round four match against Canterbury, which gets under way in Alexandra today.

"With Foxy not here I have been able to get some opportunity. But he is a great player and he deserves to be here and I do feel a bit sorry for him," Muller said.

"I’m really enjoying being in the fast bowling group. They are really welcoming and the team culture is awesome."

Muller moved from Cape Town to Wellington in 2017 is search of more opportunities.

The 27-year-old played club cricket in the capital and one first-class game for the Firebirds.

But with the opportunities drying up he moved to Dunedin and linked up with the North East Valley club.

Muller chipped away for Otago A and last season got an opportunity to play a first-class game, a couple of twenty20 matches and a one-dayer for the Volts.

He missed out on an Otago contract this season but has a job as a house master at John McGlashan College and he also does some coaching for the school and at his club.

His working visa has been extended until June next year but he would like to settle in New Zealand and follow the likes of Neil Wagner and Grant Elliott into the Black Caps.

They both moved from the republic in search of opportunities and are a source of inspiration for Muller.

While Muller has only played a handful of Plunket Shield games, he did play plenty of first-class cricket in South Africa and is closing in on 50 games.

Another three matches will get him there and he has taken 126 wickets at an average of 24.92.

He has a high score of 48 but is always working on his batting and hopes to be of value down the order.

Muller will join New Zealand A players Jacob Duffy, Michael Rae, Nathan Smith and Rippon in a powerful Volts bowling unit.

Keeper Max Chu has returned from injury and replaces Mitch Renwick, who has struggled to make an impact with the bat.

Black Caps middle-order batsman Henry Nicholls has been named in a strong Canterbury side.

It has been eight months since the left-hander’s last game of cricket. He was sidelined with a calf injury for the first three rounds of the Plunket Shield.

Canterbury leads the competition standings with three consecutive wins.

■ Otago Boys’ secured a spot in the Gillette Cup finals in Lincoln next month with a convincing nine-wicket win against Southland Boys’ at Brooklands Park yesterday.

Ollie Ritchie took four for 23 to help dismiss the visiting side for a modest tally of 118.

Opener Jacob Cumming ensured his side made light work of the chase. He stroked 62 not out from 66 deliveries to help his side overhaul the target with more than 30 overs to spare.

Otago v Canterbury

The teams
Otago: Anaru Kitchen, Camden Hawkins, Dale 
Phillips, Hamish Rutherford (captain), Nick 
Kelly, Nathan Smith, Michael Rippon, Max Chu, 
Jacob Duffy, Travis Muller, Michael Rae, 
Angus McKenzie.
Canterbury: Tom Latham, Jack Boyle, Ken 
McClure, Henry Nicholls, Cole McConchie 
(captain), Daryl Mitchell,  Leo Carter, Cam 
Fletcher, Theo Van Woerkom, Will Williams, 
Fraser Sheat, Sean Davey, Edward Nuttall.

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