Dean Brownlie poised for Northern Knights shift
Unwanted Black Caps batsman Dean Brownlie is poised to join the Northern Knights for the upcoming season.
The Canterbury Wizards 29-year-old, who has played 14 tests for New Zealand, is understood to have committed to the current domestic Twenty20 champions with a desire to open for the Knights and the national side.
Brownlie has played chiefly as a middle-order bat and has Black Caps openers Tom Latham and Peter Fulton ahead of him in the batting order at Canterbury.
"This hasn't just happened, opening has been something I've been thinking of for about 18 months," Brownlie told Fairfax Media. "I want to play for New Zealand and it looks like the Black Caps have positions three, four and five pretty well sewn up and I still think I have a lot to offer. It's not just the opening thing, though.
"I've spoken to a few people I trust and we worked out one of the things that I was missing was a home base. I've got a place in the Mount and that should be more stable for me."
Brownlie, born in Perth, has made one test century and four 50s while averaging 29.62 but hasn't played a test since May last year.
He has played 92 games for Canterbury, including 35 first class matches where he averaged 46.22.
Brownlie would be a top acquisition for the Knights, who struggled for consistent runs in last year's Plunket Shield competition. While the association is bringing through a group of talented young batsmen, including Joe Carter, Bharat Popli and Jono Hickey, international team commitments mean they are often without Black Cap Kane Williamson, Corey Anderson and BJ Watling.
Meanwhile, former Wellington Blaze pace bowler Sian Ruck will join the Northern Spirit women's side this season.
Ruck, who was one of four centrally contracted White Ferns players in 2013, has joined the Spirit to play for new coach Mark Coles and work with coaching mentor Cliff Dickeson.
"It's not been an easy decision to leave Wellington, it's my home and I identify as a Wellingtonian," Ruck said.
"But, after a disappointing 2013-14 domestic season I believe a fresh start and a new environment is the best way forward for me. I want to enjoy my cricket and to work my way back into the White Ferns.
"Having the opportunity to work with Mark and Cliff again is very exciting. I'm also looking forward to playing alongside leaders such as Nicola Browne, Morna Nielsen, and Natalie Dodd. I am also pleased that I will get the chance to work with some of the young up and coming talent in the region."
Coles was delighted with the acquisition.
"I'm thrilled to have someone of Sian's calibre as part of our team this year.
"She brings strong bowling skills to the group but she has leadership qualities that I think will add so much value. This is a new season for us with lots of change coming - and for the better."
Ruck is currently overseeing the girls and women's programme at the Radlett Cricket Club in North London, while playing for the Radlett men's and women's teams in preparation for the NZ domestic season.