Hawke Cup campaign hampered by batting
Southland cricket coach Steve Jackson admits to some concerns around batting depth heading into their 2013/14 Hawke Cup season and says some players will need to step up this season to fill the gaps.
Jackson named a squad of 17 players yesterday to prepare for the 2013/14 southern zone Hawke Cup campaign which will start against North Otago in Oamaru on December 7 and 8.
Southland's other three southern zone games will all be after the Christmas break against Mid Canterbury, South Canterbury and North Otago.
Southland's traditional strength has centered around its bowling attack while Shaun Fitzgibbon had played a major role in recent seasons in propping up the batting department.
Fitzgibbon, however, is now overseas and will leave a big hole in the Southland batting lineup.
Australian import Ryan Meyer produced the individual batting highlight last season when he scored an unbeaten 207 against South Canterbury becoming just the third Southland batsman to score double hundred.
However the Southland Cricket Association has opted to not bring in an overseas import this season sighting financial constraints so they will not have Meyer's services again.
Opening batsman Simon Wadworth is also missing as he required elbow surgery in the off-season.
On top of this there is also doubts as to how much involvement Southland's premier batsman Ryan Duffy will have this season.
Duffy is now playing his club cricket fulltime in Dunedin and is knocking on the door of Otago Volts selection.
Jackson said there were big holes to fill and it would likely mean some players who have previously batted in the middle to lower order would need to step in the pecking order. "We've lost five batsman from last season so it's imperative they do (step up)," Jackson said yesterday.
Included in the Southland squad are Indian players Akash Christian and Biwas Bibhas who are in Invercargill on a John Wright Scholarship at the Southern Institute of Technology.
Jackson said he was keen to have a closer look at the pair training with the Southland Hawke Cup squad.
Waikoikoi's decision to step up from the Combined Country competition to the senior grade received another positive boost with the naming of Jared McKenzie in the Southland Hawke Cup squad.
Jackson has been impressed with what McKenzie has showed in training through the off-season.
Included in the squad for experience is Southland Boys' High School's Bailey Andrews and Nick McCallum.
Meanwhile the 121st Southland Cricket Association annual general meeting was held on Monday night which seen Gerry Ward reappointed chairman, Ian Folster president and and Greg Munro the treasurer of the association for the 2013/14 season.
The 2012/13 management committee members of Ronnie Kotcamp, Rob Stewart, Peter Downing, Mark Hamilton, Dale Cocker and Stu Dunn will also remain in their roles. The annual report showed a $19,000 cash loss for the 2012/13 season.
- © Fairfax NZ News