Southland brothers Ryan and Jacob Duffy are one step away from playing together in New Zealand's top level domestic cricket competition.
The pair have been named in an Otago Volts squad which will play a three-day warm-up game against Canterbury starting today in Rangiora.
The game is being used as a warmup and selection tool in the leadup to the Volts opening four-day Plunket Shield game against Wellington at the Basin Reserve starting on October 27.
Jacob, 19, has already played for the Volts and is a leading prospect for the Volts opener as he looks to shake off a hamstring injury.
Older brother Ryan is also banging loudly on the Volts' selection door as he looks to make a statement in the next three days to be included in the team to play Wellington.
Ryan was provided with a confidence boost at the start of August when Volts coach Vaughn Johnson approached him about training with the squad this season.
"It gave me huge confidence," Ryan told The Southland Times yesterday.
"He just said to me that basically my runs last season hadn't gone unnoticed and more importantly [neither had] my work ethic."
Ryan has worked had at his game in recent years to put himself in the position where he is now being viewed as a genuine option.
He knows though that this week in Rangiora is important in his progression.
"It's a good chance for me, these are the games you want to make[your] mark."
Whether Ryan, who has spent most of his time opening the batting, can squeeze his way into the Volts batting lineup this season is the big question even with a host of players away on international duties.
Neil Broom has traditionally been used as a middle order batsman in the four-day game but after a successful stint opening in the Twenty20 format it seems Johnson is looking at him to join Aaron Redmond at the top in the Plunket Shield this season.
Michael Bracewell is the likely option to bat at No 3, while new recruit Jesse Ryder will probably bat at four and allrounder Sam Wells is likely to bat in the top six as an allrounder.
That could see Duffy, Brad Rodden and Iain Robertson scrapping over one spot in the top six.
Duffy Sr said yesterday it was nice to be part of the Volts' setup, alongside his younger brother Jacob.
The pair attended Southland Boys' High School, played for the Metropolitan Cricket Club in Invercargill and now are chasing their cricketing dream together in Dunedin.
"When we go to trainings and stuff he's just another member of the team but when you get home from training it's good to be able to talk about training and stuff like that, it's quite cool really."
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