George Worker's move to Canterbury last season has paid off with the all-rounder being named in the Black Caps' preliminary squad for the Twenty20 World Cup in September.
The former Central Districts all-rounder shifted to the Canterbury Wizards last season, which he thought was one of the reasons he made the 30-man squad to be whittled down to 15 for the tournament in Sri Lanka.
"You never know what might have happened if I stayed around [with CD]," Worker said.
"It's definitely been a factor, the move down here. My game's improved and my coach has been really good."
One of the reasons the former Palmerston North Boys' High School student left Manawatu for Canterbury was to play under Wizards coach Bob Carter.
"I really enjoy Bob as a coach," Worker said. "It's been really good for me and having someone there who knows my game pretty well and maintained it.
"He's helped me with a couple of things. It's good to have someone there to bounce ideas off."
The final World Cup squad will be named next month, but for now Worker is happy just to be in the thoughts of the New Zealand selectors.
"Even though it's getting chopped, it's nice to be recognised in the 30 guys," Worker said. "It's a step closer to my goals and I'm pretty stoked."
National selection manager Kim Littlejohn said the squad was the best 30 Twenty20 players in New Zealand, so Worker can take heart from that.
He is one of only two players in the group without international experience, along with Anaru Kitchen. They were both said to have shown promise at domestic level.
Last summer Worker scored his maiden century in the Plunket Shield four-day competition against Auckland and his second one-day 100, after his first for CD last year. He said he'd had a few good opportunities with the bat and wanted more this season after he averaged 35.29, with one 100 and three 50s in the four-dayers.
"I've put a few goals in place myself looking ahead to the summer. I'm just concerned with playing well for Canterbury."
He was a little disappointed with his bowling last summer but was keen to unleash his left-arm spinners more this year.
The 22-year-old is in the New Zealand Cricket winter development programme along with CD's Adam Milne and Bevan Small, and is at one of their camps at the New Zealand Cricket High Performance Centre in Lincoln.
There are two more camps next month and Worker is hoping to make the New Zealand A side which will play the touring India A side in September.
- © Fairfax NZ News