Walter appears destined to spend another summer in South

Rob Walter.
Rob Walter.
Otago coach Rob Walter would like to stay on when his contract lapses in September.

Walter has just completed his third season with the team. It has been a mostly lean period in terms of positive results.

And this summer he had to do without the likes of Neil Wagner and Jimmy Neesham who moved on to other associations.

The retirement of Derek de Boorder stripped away another quality campaigner and Neil Broom's decision to focus on limited-overs cricket left a cavernous gap in the top of the batting order.

That said, the Volts defied expectations and made the one-day final, having set the benchmark during the round-robin phase.

The rest of the season did not go as well.

Otago fell away after a promising start to the Super Smash and really struggled in four-day cricket.

Despite the challenges, Walter is keen to return.

''I'll be looking to stay. Hopefully, we will be able to tie that up pretty soon,'' he said.

''I have no plans to move from my point of view. So the winter will be when the real coaching happens.

''We'll start up again early in June and have another 16 weeks of preparation for the season ahead.''

Otago Cricket Association Mike Coggan said he would be in a position to provide ''something more solid'' later in the week which bodes well for Walter's return.

Walter is actually contracted by New Zealand Cricket but the Otago Cricket Association still has a say in the process.

Coggan has previously spoken warmly of Walter's ability, so the South African appears destined to spend at least another summer in the South.

The player contracting window is in May and June, and Walter will have some hard decisions to make during that period.

He will need to find replacements for experienced top-order batsman Brad Wilson and fast bowler Warren Barnes. Wilson has retired and Barnes is taking an indefinite break.

Opening batsman Cam Hawkins made a very solid start to his first-class career and appears likely to pick up Wilson's contract.

Barnes' replacement will take further research. The Volts lacked some potency with the red ball.

Injuries to strike bowler Michael Rae and spinner Mark Craig limited the Volts' options, and the poor form of leg-spinner Michael Rippon meant the Volts are probably on the look out for a slow bowler as well.

But it is the batting mix on which Walter will need to spend a lot of tim.

''We were very inexperienced from No3 to No7 in our batting line-up, so we were always going to be under pressure against good bowling line-ups,'' he acknowledged.

While there is certainly room for improvement, Walter felt the season should be judged a success.

''If you look at it from an overall perspective I thought it was a good season.

''We went from last to first [in the one-day round-robin]. I'm hugely proud of the performance there.

''We moved up the standings in the T20 campaign and could have even done better had we not had those rain-outs.

''But, yeah, we were way off the mark in four-day cricket up until the last two weeks of the campaign.

''To be honest, I always thought we'd have a lot to do in the four-day stuff. But I was hugely proud of the short formats and the way the guys played.

''And regardless of the results, I'm proud of the way the guys represented Otago this year. I think everyone agrees they saw a different team on the park this year.''

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