Otago talent bolstered

Otago ranks have received a further boost with a trio of players heading south for the summer.

Last week former Melbourne Renegades batsman Tom Beaton and Northern Districts left-armer Tommy Clout joined the cause.

This week first-class cricketers Travis Muller and Fraser Colson and Northland wicketkeeper-batsman Brad Kneebone have thrown their kit bag in with Otago.

Muller is arguably the most exciting of the group. The 25-year-old South African came over to New Zealand last season and played a Plunket Shield game for Wellington.

The right-arm medium pacer is hoping to qualify as a local player, and needs to put in another six-month stretch in the country. He is going to do that in Dunedin and his skills will be warmly welcomed.

He has a very decent first-class record. In 43 games he has nabbed 120 wickets at a healthy average of 24.32.

Volts coach Rob Walter said he knows Muller but had not seen him bowl for "four to five years other than on " and "had little to do" with his decision to move south.

"But it is always good to have these sorts of quality players in our system," Walter said.

Muller can only play as an import in the twenty20 competition until he has qualified, which will not be until next season.

Colson is making his way down from Wellington.

A former New Zealand under-19 player, the 28-year-old has played 19 first-class games and two one-dayers for Wellington since making his provincial debut in November 2013.

He has a modest first-class record of 685 runs at an average of 22.09, and will have to force his way into the Otago squad through some strong performances at club level and in the provincial A programme.

Walter is not too familiar with Kneebone, but he will press his case with the gloves at club level.

It is a spot which is potentially up for grabs following the departure of long-serving keeper Derek de Boorder, although part-time keeper Mitch Renwick has been contracted to fill the vacancy.

Otago strike bowlers Warren Barnes and Michael Rae will head to Sydney next week for a stint with Northern District Cricket Club as part of their preparations for the first-class season, which gets under way on October 10.


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