Holstein joins long list of Wizards' greenhorns

Coach Gary Stead has named a virtual baby Wizards squad to play a star-studded Wellington in their Twenty20 opener on Friday.

Two of Stead's 13-man squad are yet to play a T20 match at this level, including 22-year-old left-arm spinner Matt Holstein, who is yet to play for Canterbury at all.

Four of the squad have played just one match at this level.

Stead has had his hand forced with Todd Astle, Andrew Ellis, Rob Nicol and Ronnie Hira on Black Caps duty and strike bowlers Matt Henry and Hamish Bennett unavailable through injury.

Bennett was earlier listed as a possibility to play but Stead yesterday said the big quick hadn't recovered as well as he would have liked from four overs for his club last Saturday.

While the side may have plenty of younger players, it does boast experience - mainly in its batting stocks - with Shanan Stewart, skipper Peter Fulton and Dean Brownlie, all of whom have played for New Zealand.

The side's inexperienced bowling stocks will be boosted by imports Gareth Andrew and former Australian international Ben Laughlin, a death bowling specialist.

Meanwhile, Holstein was buzzing after receiving the nod from Stead.

The former Canterbury under-19 player noted that playing at Wellington's Cake Tin in a televised match would be quite different from playing for his club at St Albans' new Ilam Fields home ground.

Holstein, a psychology student, was bowler of the tournament at this year's club nationals, but the likes of an in-form Jesse Ryder at the other end of the pitch is a major step up in class.

"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous about it, but when you think about it, it's still a game of cricket and you still just have to land it in the right areas."

Holstein knows with three Canterbury spinners away with the Black Caps this is a rare opportunity to show what he can do and if he gets on the field he wants to be as well prepared as possible.

"When you've guys like Wizz [academy coach Paul Wiseman] with the team, you talk to them and get any advice you can. He's a real thinker of the game and so is Gary Stead."

Whether Holstein plays will depend on the pitch and if Stead wants to play two spinners. Tim Johnston is sure to play and Stead could still opt for George Worker as his second slow bowling option.

If he makes the XI, left-armer Willie Lonsdale will make his T20 debut while Ryan McCone, Logan van Beek, Henry Nicholls and Johnston have all played just one T20 match.

Canterbury Wizards

Peter Fulton (c), Gareth Andrew, Dean Brownlie, Brad Cachopa, Matt Holstein, Tim Johnston, Ben Laughlin, Willie Lonsdale, Ryan McCone, Henry Nicholls, Shanan Stewart, Logan van Beek, George Worker. -