Veteran Central Districts allrounder Jacob Oram is in doubt for tonight's Twenty20 match against Wellington in Napier after he pulled out of training yesterday because of illness.
Central Districts coach Alan Hunt was still hopeful of having Oram's services but called in former Northern Districts paceman Andrew Mathieson as cover.
Mathieson was one of Central Districts' best performers last week, snaring five vital second-innings wickets in his side's 10-wicket Plunket Shield win over Otago.
"Jacob's suffering from some sort of throat infection but hopefully he will wake up well tomorrow," Hunt said.
Oram aside, Central Districts have been bolstered by the return of internationals Doug Bracewell and Kruger van Wyk after their involvement in New Zealand's second test win in Sri Lanka.
Hunt said the pair were surprisingly fresh despite their taxing tour, and confirmed both would start against Wellington.
Their return is timely given Central Districts will be without captain Kieran Noema-Barnett (calf) and former Black Cap Tarun Nethula (shoulder) who will be out for a couple more weeks at least.
Noema-Barnett's absence has seen Hunt hand the captaincy to former skipper Jamie How, who took back the reins without question, according to the coach.
"He didn't hesitate and it seemed logical that we should go back there," he said.
After a first up six-wicket loss to HRV Cup front-runners Northern Districts a fortnight ago, Hunt acknowledged his side needed to get on the board in the fragmented competition.
"To not win that first game when we gave ourselves a chance, that was disappointing," he said. "They feel like they're all big games now, particularly when Northern is getting away on everybody because they are playing more and getting that continuity.
"That is one of the most important things with T20, getting momentum, and we haven't had the luxury of playing too much."
Central Districts looked a bit off the pace in their opening match in Hamilton after feeding off a diet of Plunket Shield cricket, but Hunt believed the squad had learned from that loss.
"If anything we were a little bit hesitant in the way we played," he said. "I think we didn't bowl straight enough and we gave them too many easy singles. We have to bowl straighter and create more pressure."
Wellington, who head into the match on the back of a win and a loss, have also welcomed back internationals James Franklin and Jeetan Patel but will be without paceman Mark Gillespie after he was overlooked in favour of Scott Kuggeleijn.
Batsman Jesse Ryder again shapes as an influential figure in the match, especially if he gets going and starts to find McLean Park's short square boundaries.
HOW THEY LINE UP
Central Districts v Wellington McLean Park, Napier 7.10pm, Sky Sport 1 TAB: CD $2.20, Wellington $1.62
CENTRAL DISTRICTS: (from) Jamie How (c), Peter Trego, Mathew Sinclair, Carl Cachopa, William Young, Kruger van Wyk, Jacob Oram, Ben Smith, Doug Bracewell, Marty Kain, Adam Milne, Ajaz Patel.
WELLINGTON: (from) Jesse Ryder, Michael Pollard, Michael Papps, James Franklin (c), Luke Ronchi, Grant Elliott, Harry Boam, Scott Kuggeleijn, Luke Woodcock, Chris Woakes, Jeetan Patel, Dane Hutchinson, Mark Houghton.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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