Captain Tom Latham aims to lead from front

MATT RICHENS
Last updated 05:00 15/12/2012
Tom Latham
Fairfax NZ
YOUNG LEADER: At 20 years and 254 days, Tom Latham is to become Canterbury’s youngest cricket captain.

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Tom Latham has vowed to be an attacking skipper when he takes over the reigns for Canterbury's Plunket Shield match with Auckland tomorrow.

At just 20, Latham is easily the youngest man to captain the Canterbury cricket side, yet that won't mean he's timid or reserved at Eden Park's No 2 ground, he said.

Coach Gary Stead has this season repeatedly claimed his side would do everything in their power to create chances at outright wins and Latham, too, has bought into that plan.

He sat down with absent skipper Peter Fulton to pick his brain before Fulton left for South Africa with the Black Caps and will no doubt have Stead in his ear during the four-day match.

Latham will captain as he bats. Watchful and observant at first and, as he gets more comfortable, more expansive.

He's new to the job at this level but has captained under-age sides before and shown good cricket nous.

He's also clever enough to know his main job should still be to score runs.

"When it comes down to it, it's a bit different, but I still want to treat it like any other game and just do my job," he said.

"I guess I want to lead from the front."

One of Canterbury's strengths of recent years has been having a number of experienced players within the side, but when Latham looks around during this Plunket Shield game, most of those older faces will be missing.

Fulton's in South Africa, making his international comeback, and Andrew Ellis and Shanan Stewart are both injured.

With Latham, Todd Astle and Dean Brownlie there are still players with international experience while Willie Lonsdale, Ryan McCone and import Gareth Andrew have all improved through this season.

With Canterbury (32 points) fifth in the six team competition and Auckland (34) fourth, 34 points behind leaders Central Districts, Stead expected both sides to force the game along.

There is only one change to the Canterbury team which drew with Northern Districts in a rain-affected match last week as Henry Nicholls comes back into the side for his Canterbury Country team-mate Fulton.

Auckland, who like Canterbury have won just one of their four four-day games this season, will be without a number of key players.

The competition's top run-scorer, Colin Munro, is away with the New Zealand T20 team, as is quick left armer Mitchell McClenaghan whose probable Plunket Shield replacement Michael Bates is also in South Africa.

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Auckland have brought in New Zealand under-19 players Robbie O'Donnell and Matt Quinn while import Phil Mustard will also play.

- The Press

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