Volts readying for uncertain season

The domestic season schedule remains a draft draw at this stage.

The club cricket season has not been finalised yet.

But the Otago Volts are forging ahead with plans anyway.

The team will travel north to Lincoln on Sunday for a training camp.

After months of training indoors at the Edgar Centre in Dunedin it is time to get some grass beneath the feet.

Then there is the carrot of a couple of warm-up games against Canterbury.

Should conditions allow, Otago and Canterbury will play a one-dayer on Wednesday and a twenty20 match on Thursday morning before the Volts return home.

The domestic season is expected to get under way on December 19 with a round of first-class games.

The domestic draw is due to be released at the end of the month once the international calendar has been worked out.

Covid-19 has made planning difficult but it is understood the domestic season will be very similar to last summer.

Club cricket in Dunedin will not get under way until October 31, so Otago’s trip north to Lincoln and its training camp in Alexandra in early October shape as crucial.

The Volts will be missing a trio of players for the trip to Lincoln.

Experienced opener Hamish Rutherford is playing for Worcestershire in the Vitality Blast.

Earlier this week he cracked 62 from 37 balls to help his side defeat Northamptonshire by eight runs.

The left-hander will go into isolation upon returning and is expected to be out of quarantine the week beginning October 12.

Fellow left-hander Nick Kelly will also be absent. He has been playing in the Caribbean Premier League for the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots and arrived in Auckland yesterday.

He will spend the next two weeks in quarantine before rejoining the Volts.

Talented all-rounder Dean Foxcroft could be absent a lot longer. The 22-year-old was named Otago batsman of the year and rising star at the awards last week.

But the South African is stranded in the republic and unable to return due to New Zealand’s border restrictions.

The Otago Cricket Association and the New Zealand Cricket Players Association are working through applying for an exemption for the skilful player but he does not meet the current criteria as it stands.

"I’m hopeful he will come back but we have to plan as if he won’t," Walter said.

"It is tough for him because he wants to be here playing. This is his job and what he wants to do.

"Basically he wants to get himself eligible to play for New Zealand as soon as possible and put in performances like he did last season and get his name in the hat.

"It is a setback but there is not much we can do about it.

"It is a loss [for the team] but I suppose it creates opportunities for the guys who have sat on the fringes.

"From a spinning point of view we did not use Josh
[Finnie] a hell of a lot last season because we didn’t need to but he is an option for us.

"And from a batting point of view we have a few extra batters in our line-up that hardly played last year.

"It is a loss because of his quality but hopefully those guys can jump on the opportunity."

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