Otago A plays to impress

Christie Viljoen.
Christie Viljoen.
There will be plenty at stake when Otago A play Auckland A in the first of its tri-series games in Lincoln today.

Number one on the list is a place in the Volts' line-up.

Basically, coach Adam Miles has a squad of hungry players all keen to return to the Volts line-up or force their way into the top team.

Most of the Otago A squad have experience at domestic level, including Volts all-rounder Christi Viljoen.

His presence in the Otago A side is perhaps the biggest surprise.

The 31-year-old is Otago's leading wicket-taker in the Super Smash this season but has dropped out of the playing side to make room for English import Ben Raine, who arrived in the country on Wednesday.

But Viljoen is not the only spurned Volt with a point to prove during the A series.

Gloveman Mitchell Renwick produced some solid performances at the top of the Otago order during the one-day campaign but was replaced by Worcestershire keeper Ben Cox for the twenty20 tournament.

Otago fast bowler Warren Barnes was in and out of the one-day team this season and will be hoping to impress with a big haul of wickets.

It is also an opportunity for qualifying players Tom Beaton and Travis Muller to impress with an eye to playing a larger role for Otago next year.

And either Jack Hunter or Matt Bacon will join the side on January 7 depending on who is selected in the Volts.

"Typically these A fixtures are to give those guys on the fringes of the Volts' squad opportunities to play," Miles said.

"From a coaching perspective it is good to see exactly where guys are at."

Otago, Canterbury and Auckland will play each other in a one-day match and two twenty20 games. There is a final to look forward to at the end of the series for the top two teams, as well.

Talented Southland all-rounder Harsh Visavadiya has not been named in the side, which suggests he could be in line for a spot in the Otago team, although he would have to unseat Michael Rippon, who is a very similar player.


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