Oram ready and willing to tour

GEORGE HEAGNEY
Last updated 12:00 30/11/2012

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If the New Zealand selectors pick him, Jacob Oram will be off like a shot to South Africa next month.

The veteran Manawatu all-rounder has just returned from 4 months away from home, playing for the Black Caps and in Twenty20 tournaments.

New Zealand tour South Africa in December and January for three Twenty20s, three tests and three one-day internationals, with Oram likely to be a fixture in the limited-overs format.

"I'm enjoying it, still available for selection," Oram said.

"Now my wife's pregnant and the birth of second child is a couple of months away, it could throw a spanner in the works with the South African tour.

"I'll have to work through that. I'm still a New Zealand-contracted player. I'm still wanting to play until that changes, until I find another job or get pushed out of the team."

Now 34, and having battled injury for a lot of his career, retirement is a question on many people's lips about the big man.

"I've probably had it more as I've got older and as the performances get sparser.

"There's been a lot of questions, I suppose, [about] my motivation and desire and my place in the team. I think that's a strange way to show they care."

Oram said he would have to make sure his form and fitness warranted selection, especially with guys like Andrew Ellis putting pressure on for the all-rounder position.

He needed his spell at home to recharge after a hectic schedule of international cricket since August, for New Zealand and his Uva Next team in Sri Lanka.

He was on the subcontinent for the Sri Lanka Premier League, then went to India for two Twenty20s, then back to Sri Lanka for the World Twenty20 championship, then to South Africa for the Twenty20 Champions League.

He snuck in a week and a half at home in Palmerston North, then had to go back to Sri Lanka for the limited-overs section of New Zealand's tour of five one-dayers and a Twenty20 match.

He said it was still his job, and he could not complain.

"It's a strange feeling. Chris Martin is the oldest guy in the test team and I'm the oldest guy in the limited overs."

The time away from home was getting harder, he said, and the recent stint was his longest since he retired from test cricket in 2009.

Oram is available for Central Districts for the HRV Cup and the one-day competition, if he can fit it in.

He will also make a rare appearance for his club side United on Sunday.

He last turned out for them this time last year.

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- The Manawatu Standard

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