Otago to shuffle batting card in Broom's absence

Neil Broom
Neil Broom
Neil Broom's absence has forced a reshuffle at the top of the Otago order.

Shawn Hicks will move up the order to open for tonight's Super Smash match against Central Districts in Napier.

Hicks had a promising season for Otago last summer, but he has struggled to have an impact in his second year with the side.

He has battled against short-pitched bowling but has been preferred ahead of the likes of Josh Tasman-Jones, Mitch Renwick or perhaps Fraser Colson, who have all been scoring heavily for Otago A in Lincoln this week.

''Last year he batted at No3 a lot of the time and had a really good campaign with a couple of [rapid] 50s,'' Volts coach Rob Walter said.

''He is a guy who plays good cricket shots, so it is not unknown territory for him.

''I think it is an area of the game he can really make an impact.''

Hard-hitting all-rounder Ben Raine will bat at first drop, with Anaru Kitchen dropping to No4.

Broom's replacement, Brad Wilson, could bat as low as No8 in the order, depending on how the innings pans out.

He will provide support for Josh Finnie, who is charged with finishing an innings when required.

''The batters in our team are pretty versatile so we thought about strengthening our finishing capability, and Brad has been in pretty good form in short-format cricket.''

Broom is sidelined with a fractured bone in his hand and is unlikely to make his playing return before the end of the month.

The game will be played at a new-look McLean Park. The venue has a new drop-in pitch and renovated outfield.

Central Districts have named a strong side, despite losing Black Caps Seth Rance and Doug Bracewell.

They have a quality spinner in Ajaz Patel and the team features recent Black Caps Ben Wheeler, George Worker, captain Tom Bruce, and uncapped test squad reserve Will Young.

Walter feels five wins should be enough for his side to get through to the playoffs, which means the Volts will need to win three of their remaining six games.

Otago (10 points) is in third place behind Wellington (10 points) and front-runner Northern Districts (12 points). Auckland (six points), Central Districts (six points) and Canterbury (four points) are outside the top three.

''Every game is an important one. We'll work towards getting those five wins, and certainly if we get one under the belt now then it will put us in a really strong position at the halfway mark.''

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