A New Zealand Masters cricket team led by Stephen Fleming will take on their Australian counterparts in a Twenty20 match in Wellington on February 27 as a curtain-raiser to the BLACKCAPS international match against India.
The Masters event - a joint-venture between New Zealand Cricket and the New Zealand Cricket Players Association (NZCPA) - will feature a host of former greats of the game, including Fleming, Dion Nash, Simon Doull, Ian Healy, Darren Lehmann and Greg Blewett.
Both the NZCPA and Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) masters teams play regular matches during the course of the season in their respective countries against regional sides and minor and major Associations to help promote the game and its players. However this is the first international fixture for both teams.
One emerging young player from each country will be included in each team. Otago fast bowler, James Fuller, will join the New Zealand team following the recent internal tour with the New Zealand Under 19 team.The trans-Tasman masters match-up will be preceded by a "Master Class Coaching Session" for 100 young Wellingtonions.
"Masters sport is played to a very high standard and with a very strong public following in a range of sports globally," said NZC CEO Justin Vaughan.
"We believe it is a format which has real potential in the future and this inaugural Trans-Tasman match is also an opportunity to add some additional excitement to Wellington's hosting of the international match between the BLACKCAPS and India," he said.
Heath Mills, NZCPA Executive Manager, said the players from both teams were looking forward to renewing old rivalries and suggested that the match-up will have plenty of spice.
"Many of the players have only recently retired from international cricket and they have all maintained good fitness so there will be no shortage of passion and energy. We are confident that this first Masters international between the two countries will be the first of many to come in what will no doubt be another hotly contested Trans-Tasman rivalry” he said.
Mills also expressed thanks to the Wellington City Council and Radio Live for supporting the hosting of the match.
Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) Chief Executive Paul Marsh explained that the ACA Masters were looking forward to playing on the international stage.
“The ACA Masters team is made up of past legends of Australian cricket, as well as current players including promising New South Wales youngster Josh Hazlewood,” Paul Marsh said.
“After a thrilling and tightly fought summer of international cricket between our two countries, we look forward to seeing who can finish the summer with bragging rights by taking out the Masters title,” Marsh said.
Teams will include:
Samsung NZCPA Masters
Stephen Fleming (Captain)
James Fuller (U19)
Darren Lehmann (Captain)
Michael Di Venuto
Josh Hazlewood (U19)
The Masters match will commence at 2.30pm at Westpac Stadium, Wellington on Friday February 27. The BLACKCAPS v India Twenty20 international commences at 7.00pm. Both matches are included in the single-ticket price.