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Will Young returns, Ben Smith named captain

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Will Young’s long-awaited return to the Central Stags and Ben Smith’s first appointment as Ford Trophy captain are the key features of a 12-strong squad named for the resumption of the one-day campaign in Dunedin tomorrow.

With regular captain Tom Bruce away on New Zealand A and BLACKCAPS duty, Smith, 29, will lead the Stags, after having captained the Central Districts A team over the past two seasons.

NZC-contracted Young meanwhile makes a welcome return to the top side after having fully rehabilitated from June 2019 surgery to repair a torn right shoulder labrum.

Shortly after having been awarded his maiden BLACKCAPS contract, Young sustained the damage at an NZC training camp in Lincoln in April last year, ahead of a New Zealand tour to Queensland ahead of the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup.

The nature of the injury was such that Young was able to continue on to the NZC tour, playing all three World Cup warm-up one-dayers against a near-full strength Australian World Cup squad in Brisbane and scoring an impressive sequence of 60, 130 and 111 in what would be his last three, bittersweet innings before undergoing surgery.

Despite having been batting in the nets for the past two months, the renowned point fielder was forced to sit out the Dream11 Super Smash while continuing to work on regaining full capacity in his throwing arm.

Both Young and Smith will be playing their 49th List A one-dayer for the Stags in Dunedin tomorrow (Sunday) ahead of potentially chalking up their 50th caps together in a free-admission home match in Nelson, also against the Volts, on Wednesday.

The duo are taking good form into tomorrow’s sixth round, having faced each other in a remarkable Furlong Cup clash last weekend.

Opening batsman Smith wrote himself into Cricket Wanganui’s recordbooks with his innings of 240 not out, sharing a mammoth unbeaten 338-run stand for the third wicket with Canadian and Whanganui youngster Akash Gill (100 not out) in a winning total of 399 for three declared.

Taranaki’s Young responded with a knock of 71 and Smith enjoyed watching his longtime Stags teammate getting a good knock under his belt.

"It was good fun on a fast outfield and with the pitch pretty slow so anything short sat up," Smith said.

"Will’s been looking really good and we’re excited to have him back. He’s raring to go, after working hard on his all-round game, and particularly his fielding in the wake of shoulder surgery which is never easy to bounce back from quickly.

"We can all imagine how frustrating it has been for him over this past year, and I know he’s looking forward now to getting back out there for the Stags and playing a lot of cricket."

Smith said he was looking forward to leading the side against the Volts, tomorrow’s home side fresh off hosting the Dream11 Super Smash Elimination Final at the same ground - a match snatched away from them by the Auckland Aces.

"We’ve beaten the Volts well already once this season in the T20 format and always look forward to playing against them," said Smith.

"We have a few relatively fresh players in our squad as well and it’s another good opportunity for the likes of Ryan Watson and Jayden Lennox to step up and continue their exciting progress this summer."

With former Stags captains Young and Noema-Barnett in the squad alongside Plunket Shield captain Greg Hay, Smith will have plenty of experienced heads to draw on in his first game with the armband.

"It will be great to have those guys around me and I’m really looking forward to the opportunity," said Smith.

"I’ve captained half a dozen games for CD A in the last two seasons - and a little bit in the past years and years ago, so I feel ready and excited and I’m looking forward to both tomorrow and getting home to Saxton Oval in what should be very warm cricket weather to get our Ford Trophy summer back on track."

The Stags have an optional training session this afternoon in Dunedin.


The Ford Trophy - Round 6

Central Stags v Otago Volts

University of Otago Oval, Dunedin

11AM, Sunday 26 January 2020

Ben Smith - captain - Whanganui

Josh Clarkson - Nelson

Dane Cleaver - wicketkeeper - Manawatu

Greg Hay - Nelson

Jayden Lennox - Hawke’s Bay

Willem Ludick - Nelson

Kieran Noema-Barnett - Hawke’s Bay

Seth Rance - Wairarapa

Brad Schmulian - Hawke’s Bay

Ryan Watson - Taranaki

Ben Wheeler - Marlborough

Will Young - Taranaki

Coach - Aldin Smith

Unavailable for selection

Ross Taylor, Blair Tickner - BLACKCAPS

Tom Bruce - BLACKCAPS and NZ A

Ajaz Patel, George Worker - NZ A

Doug Bracewell, Adam Milne, Bevan Small, Ben Stoyanoff - injury/rehabilitation

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