Selectors faced up to tough task
OPINION: South Canterbury cricket coach Robin Beeby and selector John Davies were given a near impossible task this week.
Their job was to pick their first South Canterbury senior side of the summer on the back of just two weekends of club cricket.
Now, it's no one's fault that the schedule was tight ahead of the Ron Biggar Memorial match against Mid Canterbury in Ashburton tomorrow, but it is not enough time to get a grasp on form and player ability.
The duo deserve a lot of credit for the rationale they showed behind their selections.
Some players have rightly been picked on reputation, with English quick Matt Woods being one of them. Woods has to come up trumps at Hawke Cup level and must be given every opportunity to find his feet in New Zealand conditions during these three warm-ups games.
Players who have had more cricket under their belt have been picked.
Waimate batsman Glen Drake and Temuka pace bowler Nathan McNicol are two who have impressed in their outings for the Canterbury Under-20s and they have had more game-time than most South Canterbury players so far this season.
Beeby also said he could not pick veteran players such as Richie Preston and Kevin Teahen until they had played a game of club cricket. The approach is admirable and clearly tells players that they need to play and perform to be selected.
It is also great to see former Northern Districts batsman Nick Horsley playing for South Canterbury.
After seven years at the domestic level, his experience will be invaluable if he becomes a regular part of the team this season.
If speculation is correct, both Beeby and Davies have their reservations about having to pick players from the new 20/25 over club format.
The feeling is that it is not a fair proving ground for Hawke Cup cricket, where long spells with bat and ball are essential to victory.
It has been refreshing to see such and honest and fair approach to selections.
It is good to see both men regularly scouting talent at senior games and undoubtedly it helps them make a more informed decision.
This weekend is still a bit of an unknown but, at least, they have picked a squad which has every chance of fronting-up ahead of another busy season.
- The Timaru Herald