India will warm up for the ANZ Test Series this weekend with a match at Cobham Oval in Whangarei against a New Zealand XI. The team is made up of players on the fringe of First Class selection for their Associations, including three NZ Under 19 players, who leave in a week for Dubai to play in the Under 19 World Cup.
The NZ XI will be coached by NZA and NZ Under 19s coach Grant Bradburn, who is excited about the opportunities the match offers. "The players will get a taste of the next level as well as the chance to show what they can do, and we'll get to see how they respond. I think we're starting to see wonderful depth at the top levels thanks to selectors Mike Hesson and Bruce Edgar's work.
"We're obviously up against a top international side in India, and the guys are jumping out of their skins to get into it. I've spoken to them all about the chance to push their games forward in this match and putting their hand up for the selectors at their own Associations and nationally," said Bradburn.
The format is a two-day match, with 100 overs to be played each day. "This will be a good hit out for India, we're respectful of what they need out of the match and will work with them to offer that, but at the same time we'll be doing our utmost to go through them!" said Bradburn.
New Zealand XI
Anton Devcich – Northern Knights (Captain)
George Worker - Canterbury Wizards
Robbie O’Donnell - NZ 19 / Auckland Aces
Jono Hickey - Northern Knights
Tim Seifert – NZ U19 / Northern Knights (Wicketkeeper)
Henry Walsh - Wellington Firebirds
Jono Boult - Northern Knights
Roald Badenhorst – Central Districts
Iain McPeake - Wellington Firebirds
Ili Tugaga - Wellington Firebirds
Tipene Friday - Auckland Aces
Shawn Hicks – NZ U19 / Auckland Aces
With the Under 19 World Cup starting on 15 February, this is a great chance for the three NZ Under 19 players in the side to pit themselves against the very best. Keep an eye on the U19 side's skipper Robbie O'Donnell, a batsman from the Auckland Aces, Tim Siefert, a wicketkeeper / bastman from the Northern Knights, and Shawn Hicks, a very promising all rounder from the Aces. Many of the NZ Under 19 side are playing for a Canterbury XI against Tasmania this weekend also for further World Cup preparation.
NZ XI v India starts at 10.30am on Sunday, tickets are $10 on the gate, with school age children free. It will be live scored at blackcaps.co.nz, with updates at @BLACKCAPS. The first ANZ Test starts at Eden Park on Thursday 6 February.