Stags happy to leave Ross Taylor off radar

Embattled former New Zealand captain Ross Taylor will not be getting any match practice before possibly joining up with the Black Caps.

Speculation continues to grow that Taylor will join the team in South Africa after initially pulling out of the tour after he was dumped as skipper.

Central Districts coach Alan Hunt has heard nothing from his star batsman ahead of today's Plunket Shield match against Otago in Dunedin and never really considered the idea Taylor would make himself available. "We haven't spoken to Ross at this point and we are just trying to distance ourselves and let him have time to himself and with his family," he said.

"We do need to make contact fairly soon just to determine when we will see him, just in terms of our forward planning. We will make contact but he would have had enough calls without us hassling him and we don't want to seem to be pushing things. He will come back when he is ready.

"He's a great CD man and when he comes back I'm sure he will come back with a good head space."

If Taylor opts out of travelling to South Africa, he could be in action for the Stags as early as Boxing Day when their HRV Cup campaign gets under way in earnest.

"I'm sure he will be wanting to get some good preparation for the England tour," Hunt said.

Central Districts have stuck with the same 11 that lost by seven wickets to Wellington last week, although Manawatu paceman Bevan Small has been added to the squad, which is light on genuine wicket-takers after the Achilles injury to Adam Milne.

Small is still troubled with a rib injury that will require surgery, but is prepared to battle on.

Central Districts remain at the top of the Plunket Shield standings, despite their recent loss, and Hunt knows the importance of this week's match as they prepare to take a break for the Twenty20 segment of the domestic season.

With an 18-point lead over second-placed Otago, Central Districts could steal a break on the chasing pack, albeit some sides still have a game in hand.

He has urged his batsmen to show more respect for their wicket after he estimated half of their dismissals against Wellington were needless.

Despite the University Oval pitch being covered for the past couple of days, Hunt expected the playing surface to be fair for both sides.

CENTRAL DISTRICTS: Jamie How (captain), Jeet Raval, Carl Cachopa, Mathew Sinclair, William Young, Kruger van Wyk, Peter Trego, Roald Badenhurst, Ajaz Patel, Andrew Lamb, Andrew Mathieson, Bevan Small.

Taranaki Daily News