Canterbury likely to use new opening combination in Ford Trophy
Hard-hitting former South African under-19 captain Chad Bowes and uncapped Jack Boyle look set to open for Canterbury in the one-day competition, starting on Sunday.
Canterbury, who lost last year's 50-over Ford Trophy final to Central Districts, will have to use a new look opening combination.
Three of their four one-day openers from last season are unavailable or no longer with the team.
New Zealand opener Tom Latham is unlikely to feature much for Canterbury with his Black Caps commitments, while Leo Carter is easing his way back from off-season shoulder surgery. Ronnie Hira, who was also used in the role last summer, is living in Auckland.
Michael Davidson is the third opening contender, but struggled in his three one-day innings last season, scoring just 36 runs at 12.
Bowes, who is in his second season with Canterbury, showed how destructive he can be in white ball cricket, smashing 71 against the Sydney Thunder in a Twenty20 warm-up game in December. He also hit 56 in Canterbury's losing T20 semi-final effort against Wellington.
Boyle, 20, is yet to play a List A match, but excelled in his Plunket Shield debut pre-Christmas, scoring 81 in the second innings against Auckland.
He hasn't done his selection chances any harm, hammering 124 not out for Canterbury A last week against their Otago counterparts in a 50-over match.
Canterbury used wicketkeeper Cam Fletcher as an opener during their past two T20 campaigns, but coach Brendon Donkers ruled out using him there in the Ford Trophy.
"I think it's a big ask for Cam, especially if he's kept for 50 overs. We're also looking at his future development. If he played for New Zealand [in the future], he's likely to bat in that six or seven position."
Veteran Peter Fulton is expected to bat in his customary No 3 spot with the 4-6 positions up for grabs.
Last season, skipper Andrew Ellis and Todd Astle performed admirably batting higher up the order and Donkers said they would again be given that opportunity.
Ellis was Canterbury's top one-day run-scorer last season with 359 at 71.80, while Astle shone with 315 at 52.50.
Ken McClure and Cole McConchie will compete for the other top order batting berth with Henry Nicholls on Black Caps' test duty.
McClure stood out in his first Plunket Shield campaign last summer, but has been light on runs this season.
He only appeared in three T20 matches, scoring 29 runs at a tick over nine.
Donkers believed the talented McClure was one decent knock away from rediscovering his batting touch.
"It's probably the first time in his career he's battling with form a little bit. His technique hasn't changed much. He's just finding it difficult to score runs. This is a really good challenge for him."
Canterbury have been dealt a major blow in their bowling stocks with left-arm quick Ed Nuttall out of the 50-over campaign and probably the season. He suffered a serious shoulder injury while diving to prevent a boundary in the T20 competition.
Nuttall was the second top wicket-taker in last season's 50-over competition with 18.
New Zealand seamer Matt Henry could turn out for Canterbury if he misses selection in the test playing 11 against Bangladesh, but Donkers wasn't banking on his availability.
Without Nuttall, Kyle Jamieson, Logan van Beek and Henry Shipley will spearhead the pace attack.
Canterbury's 12 for the opening match against CD will be named on Friday.
AT A GLANCE
Canterbury one-day schedule: Sunday: v CD at Rangiora; Jan 18: v ND at Hamilton; Jan 22: v Otago in Dunedin; Jan 25: v Wellington at Wellington; Jan 28: v Auckland at Rangiora; Feb 1: v ND at Hagley; Feb 4: v Auckland at Auckland; Feb 8: v Wellington at Hagley.