No down time as Volts eye Super Smash

Rob Walter
Rob Walter
Scenarios training Wednesday. Nets Thursday. A three-day camp in Queenstown next week.

What two weeks off?

The gap between the one-day competition midterm break and the beginning of the Super Smash has not been the holiday you might imagine.

The Volts have been busy preparing for what is the marquee domestic tournament this summer.

The team hopes to complete its preparation in Queenstown next week but that will depend on what the weather is doing. The three-day camp may have to be relocated to Dunedin.

Wherever it is, it will be a busy time. Coach Rob Walter has called in the wider training members to bolster the squad to 23 players.

They will all be competing for a spot in the Volts XI for its opening game against Auckland at Eden Park Outer Oval on December 14.

Everybody is fit. Spinner Mark Craig still has the odd bad day with his back but played club cricket at the weekend.

Fast bowler Michael Rae has recovered from a hip complaint and medium pacer Matt Bacon is back bowling after injuring his ankle.

The Volts have a full roster which is good considering there is no overseas help on the way.

The six major associations have agreed not to call in imports this season. Walter said it was a good initiative which would mean more opportunities for New Zealand players who may have otherwise missed out.

However, arguably Otago has less depth than the other five associations and could have used an import or two to plug perceived gaps.

From that point of view, the Volts have the most to lose.

"Our pool of players to draw from is potentially less than those around the country," Walter said.

"So it could be [seen as a disadvantage]. But if it is a blanket decision then I fully agree and understand the reasons for it."

Last season Otago called in English duo Ben Raine and Ben Cox. Neither was able to have the desired impact.

But the Volts have had some good imports in the past. Ryan ten Doeschate was the gold standard when it came to T20 players. The South African-born all-rounder help the Volts win the title in 2012-13.

But for every ten Doeschate there has been a Darren Stevens or a Chris Nash. They are good County players but made little impact in New Zealand.

Arguably that is because domestic cricket in New Zealand is a lot tougher than people give it credit for.

"I think the quality of cricket in it [the Super Smash] is as good as any other competition barring potentially the IPL. If you look at the players that come over here, there are very few that set the world on fire from the word go.

"It takes then some time to find their feet. It is a tough competition and there is a good standard of play.

"I think the product from a cricket point of view is outstanding. I’d go as far as saying the cricket is as good as the Big Bash if not better."


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