Milne close but not quite ready

MARK GEENTY
Last updated 05:00 22/03/2014
Adam Milne
Getty Images
SIDELINED: Manawatu fast bowler Adam Milne hasn't been seen since he shuffled off McLean Park with a side strain on January 19.

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New Zealand's fastest bowler Adam Milne will roll his arm over at the Basin Reserve tomorrow, but Central Districts have resisted the urge to rush him back for the crucial round seven one-dayer against Wellington.

Milne hasn't been sighted since clocking 153.4kmh on the speed radar then shuffling off McLean Park with a side strain during the first ODI against India on January 19.

The 21-year-old is expected to play club cricket in Manawatu today then join the Stags tomorrow. He'll bowl some overs and undergo some sprints and fielding to prove his fitness for the Stags' final match in Dunedin on Wednesday, by which time they could be out of playoff contention if they lose to the Firebirds.

"We've agreed to a plan and we've got to stick to it. We could certainly use him [tomorrow] but it's 4-5 days too soon," Stags assistant coach Lance Hamilton said.

"We don't want to push him and risk a recurrence. With the weather we've had, he just hasn't had the workload and we can't risk him in a 50-over game."

Milne would have been a certainty for the World Twenty20 had he remained fit, such was the impact he had against West Indies and India. Making New Zealand's tour of the Caribbean starting in late May is his next goal.

Milne had worked closely with New Zealand Cricket's medical staff and travelled three times to Christchurch to bowl under their gaze in recent weeks. Hamilton believed there wasn't yet a need to tweak Milne's action despite his struggles to stay on the park.

"It was an issue of bowling loads. Over a short period he bowled quite a few overs at a high intensity, higher than he'd ever bowled before. There was nothing biomechanical that was highlighted."

CD sit fifth, level on points with bottom-placed Otago and two behind Wellington and Auckland on a compact ladder. ND and Canterbury are six points clear, with the top-four making the playoffs.

Stags coach Heinrich Malan made one change from their deflating 64-run loss to Canterbury in New Plymouth, with Will Young dropped and prolific Manawatu batsman David Meiring summoned for his CD debut.

Wellington's confidence was boosted by a tense three-wicket win over leaders ND, but they need to get on a roll after some inconsistent showings. In round one they were skittled for 147 by CD in Palmerston North.

Firebirds batsman Tom Blundell (hamstring) underwent a fitness test yesterday and coach Jamie Siddons will narrow down his squad today.

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In other matches tomorrow, ND host Canterbury in spin-friendly Hamilton and Auckland host Otago.

HOW THEY LINE UP

What: National one-day competition, round seven

Where: Basin Reserve, Wellington

When: 10.30am tomorrow

Wellington (from): Stephen Murdoch, Michael Papps, Grant Elliott, James Franklin (c), Michael Pollard, Henry Walsh, Tom Blundell, Matt Taylor, Luke Woodcock, Jeetan Patel, Mark Gillespie, Brent Arnel, Andy McKay.

Central Districts (from): Jamie How, Ben Smith, Dane Cleaver, Carl Cachopa, David Meiring, Kruger van Wyk, Kieran Noema-Barnett (c), Tarun Nethula, Marty Kain, Seth Rance, Andrew Mathieson, Roald Badenhorst.

Points: Northern 18, Canterbury 18, Auckland 12, Wellington 12, Central 10, Otago 10.

- The Dominion Post

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