Selection for Black Caps gets Duffy out of a hole

Jacob Duffy. Photo: ODT files
Jacob Duffy. Photo: ODT files
Jacob Duffy had been planning on joining his brother Ryan on a building site about now.

Older brother had a few jobs lined up for the pace bowler that were likely to involve some hard labour on the end of a shovel.

The Otago seamer got a much better gig, though. He is in Lincoln and preparing for the Black Caps tour of England instead.

It definitely beats digging holes.

"It has been awesome," the 26-year-old said.

"They’re great conditions down here in Lincoln to test out the ball and everything. Now I’m just raring to get over there."

The Black Caps will use the Duke ball for the two tests against England in June and for the World Test Championship final against India later that month.

Duffy has had plenty of success with Kookaburra cricket balls and should not have too much trouble adjusting to a different ball.

The Southlander made his debut for Otago as a 17-year-old in a televised twenty20 game, and picked up three wickets.

But it has not always been that easy. In the search to add a bit more pace he developed some unhelpful habits and had to remodel his action during the 2016-17 season.

He shed some pace during the process but gained accuracy and was swinging the ball again.

During the past couple of seasons, Duffy has been among the best-performed bowlers in the Plunket Shield.

He was the leading wicket-taker in 2019-20 and in the top five this season.

That consistency has led to opportunities for New Zealand A and he made his international debut this season.

It was a cracker too. He took four for 33 against Pakistan in a twenty20 at Eden Park.

But it is with the red ball where Duffy has been at his most lethal.

New Zealand is well-served with pace bowlers, so Duffy’s prospects of playing the World Test Championship final are slim.

But he is the type of bowler who should revel in English conditions.

"I had a wee taste in 2015 [when I toured England with the Black Caps] and loved every bit of it. It is an absolute dream come true."

That Duke ball is doing "a wee bit more" as well would should help the mood.

"It takes a little bit to get used to. I’ve been having a lot of conversations with the fullas about what they are doing with it.

"That suits me nicely because I’m a bit of a cricket tweeb."

Coach Gary Stead said it was unclear whether Trent Boult would be available for the second of the two tests against India.

The left-armer, who was playing in the Indian Premier League before it was postponed due to Covid-19, has returned to New Zealand to spend some time with his family.

He will arrive in England before the second test but may not play in that game.

"We are just talking through that with Trent at the moment. He will be there in time ... it is whether we think it is appropriate in his loadings and where we want it to be.

"We’ll know more a little closer to the time."


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