Latham downplays pressure to focus on getting runs

MATT RICHENS
Last updated 05:00 19/11/2012

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Tom Latham is still a relative first-class cricket rookie but he's mature enough to know there's already pressure on his young shoulders.

But as he is quick to point out, today's Plunket Shield match against Wellington at Rangiora is just another cricket game and his job is still the same. "Just to score runs, really. And do what I can to help Canterbury win," the 20-year-old said.

"It's a bit weird for me because I still haven't played that much first-class cricket [15 games for Canterbury, two for New Zealand A] but because I've played a little bit of Black Caps stuff, I guess there is a bit of pressure on me to perform."

Latham, who scored a quickfire 66 for his Burnside West-University club team on Saturday said that it was nice to be home after a sodden tour of Sri Lanka but he joked that he had brought Saturday's poor weather home with him.

He is one of five changes for the Wizards but will not keep wickets in this match as Brad Cachopa has retained that job while Latham will bat at No 5.

Fellow returning Black Cap Andrew Ellis and Ronnie Hira come into the squad while Gareth Andrew and Eds Nuttall both return from injury.

Canterbury Country batsman Henry Nicholls drops out of the 12 as does Matt McEwan, Cole McConchie and Will Williams while Ben McCord has been rested, according to coach Gary Stead.

"We're really happy with Ben's performances, but think his body needs a break after two pretty intense games."

With Ellis returning and import Andrew fit, McCord was probably surplus to requirements as an allrounder, though on current form, Andrew should be watching over his back and McCord will probably feature again this season.

Captain Peter Fulton will keep his spot at the top of the order after scoring back-to-back hundreds last week and the drinks carrier will be decided out of spinners Tim Johnston and Hira, or left-arm quick Nuttall, who is the favourite to miss out.

Stead said his side would not be singling out Wellington's biggest threat, Jesse Ryder.

"We'll do what we do to all batsmen, try to limit his opportunities to score, frustrate him hopefully. We know he's good and we know he's in form, but we won't do too much different."

That may be the case but Ryder is in seriously good nick and his numbers make for scary reading.

His lowest score in his last four first-class innings is 74, he averages 78 at Rangiora, 57.45 against Canterbury and 291 in this season's Plunket Shield on the back of consecutive hundreds against Central Districts in Wellington's blazing opening round win.

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Meanwhile, CD are well in control of their match with ND in Gisborne after two days. ND scored 183 in their first innings and CD reached stumps last night at 341-9.

Short scoreboard: Northern Districts 183 (A Wheater 53, A Devcich 33, C Anderson 23; C Cachopa 3-15, T Nethula 2-26, A Milne 2-41, B Wheeler 2-48) v Central Districts 341-9 (J Raval 73, B Smith 64no, Nethula 39, Milne 38no, Cachopa 20; J Baker 4-59, G Aldridge 2-64, I Sodhi 2-84).

- The Press

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