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The last-minute addition of lanky West Indian Jason Holder might have provided a head scratcher for cricket traditionalists, but the Otago Volts have no such qualms.
Volts bastman Neil Broom hopes Holder will be able to cause whoever their opponents in tomorrow night's domestic Twenty20 final are the same difficulties he's given New Zealand.
"We are excited about it," Broom said.
"He's a world-class player and he can take wickets at the top. He's done well for the Chennai Super Kings and he's a good Twenty20 bowler - I was watching him [on Wednesday night] and he was hitting those yorkers pretty well, which will be handy on a small ground like Seddon Park. Obviously there will be one guy that misses out, and [they] probably aren't that keen on it."
Otago will take a 13-strong squad to Hamilton and delay deciding who makes the final cut, coach Vaughn Johnson said.
"We are delighted that Jason is available for this weekend and excited about what he adds to this Volts team. With the squad of 13, we have named we have a number of options open to us and will be able to assess conditions before deciding which XI to put on the park come 7pm Saturday night."
Broom's gut tells him the Volts will be taking on Canterbury in the final.
The Wizards won five of their last six round-robin games - the other game was abandoned - to grab third place and a spot in the premiliminary final against Northern Districts at Hamilton's Seddon Park tonight.
"I think [Canterbury] are quite hot at the moment, so I'm just visualising us playing them at the moment," he said.
The top-qualifying Volts fly out to Hamilton today intent on defending their title.
They managed to win the round-robin despite losing Ian Butler to injury and the McCullum brothers and Jimmy Neesham to international duties.
"We've qualified first for the second time so obviously we are the form team of the past couple of years. Taking that into the final will be a massive plus for us because we've been there and done it before and have a lot of experienced players now. I think we'll be favourites, and we should be," Broom said.
"It's pretty exciting for Otago that we can still field a pretty formidable side, and then you bring back the four or five guys who are away with the Black Caps and it's a dangerous looking lineup if we do get to go to the Champions League. If we can get over the line on Saturday night, then anything can happen in India with a team like that."
Broom, who made the last of his 10 international Twenty20 appearances against Sri Lanka in November, missed out against Central Districts and Auckland after New Year, but is coming off a 47 against Wellington.
His combination at the top of the order with Hamish Rutherford will be important to Otago's fortunes.
"I've got the team off to a couple of fliers then had a lean run in the middle with a couple of low scores. I'm just looking to go big with Rugby [Rutherford] and get the team off to a good start. I quite like batting at Hamilton, so that's all good."
Otago squad: Derek de Boorder (c), Nick Beard, Michael Bracewell, Neil Broom, Mark Craig, Ryan ten Doeschate, Jacob Duffy, Jason Holder, James McMillan, Aaron Redmond, Hamish Rutherford, Neil Wagner, Sam Wells.
- The Southland Times
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