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Firebirds ring changes for Auckland visit - Cricket Wellington

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington Firebirds head coach Glenn Pocknall has made four changes to his side for tomorrow’s round four Plunket Shield clash against Auckland at the Basin Reserve.

Wellington seamer James Hartshorn comes into the squad and could make his first-class debut for the Firebirds after impressing for the Wellington A side in recent seasons.

He is one of two changes to an injury hit Firebirds bowling line-up - he replaces Ben Sears who is recovering from a concussion sustained in last week’s defeat to the Otago Volts, while Michael Snedden comes in for Hamish Bennett who drops out as a workload management precaution.

Batsmen Finn Allen and Andrew Fletcher also drop out of the squad and Fraser Colson comes in for the first time this summer - Peter Younghusband also returns to round out the 12-strong squad.

Logan van Beek (shoulder) was not considered for selection.

Pocknall said the changes were a good opportunity for players to prove themselves at the Firebirds level.

"We’re obviously disappointed to have some key bowlers unavailable but it poses a great chance for guys to come in and perform," he said.

"We’ve had a slow start to the competition and we want to bounce back with a strong performance starting tomorrow and we’re hoping the new guys coming in can bring something different to help us get back to winning ways.

"It can be difficult when things don’t go your way in cricket, but we’re focused on sticking together as a group and turning things around over the next four days."

Hartshorn’s inclusion is just reward for his strong performances for the Wellington A side in recent seasons.

The 23-year-old was last summer’s provincial A Player of the Year and has started the season strongly, picking up figures of 5-41 against Auckland A in Auckland earlier this week.

A Wellington College old boy and Karori club cricketer, Hartshorn is another product of the Cricket Wellington pathway system and follows fellow graduates Lauchie Johns, Ben Sears and Rachin Ravindra into the full Firebirds squad.

"It’s an exciting time for James," said Pocknall.

"His performance warrant his inclusion and we’re confident he can come in and compete at this level if selected in the eleven tomorrow."

The Firebirds will be out to register back-to-back wins against the Auckland Aces for the first time in the Plunket Shield since 2011 after claiming an innings and seven runs victory over them at Colin Maiden Park in March.

Play gets underway from the Basin Reserve at 10.30am - spectator entry is free.

Wellington Firebirds squad | Plunket Shield | Round Four v Auckland

Michael Bracewell (c)

Tom Blundell

Fraser Colson

Devon Conway

Jamie Gibson

James Hartshorn

Lauchie Johns (wk)

Iain McPeake

Ollie Newton

Rachin Ravindra

Michael Snedden

Peter Younghusband

Round Four Plunket Shield

Wellington Firebirds v Auckland Aces

10.30am | 14 - 17 November

Basin Reserve, Wellington

Live scoring: visit cricketwellington.co.nz

Facebook, Instagram and Twitter updates: @cricketwgtninc

Official hashtags: #PlunketShield #WEAREWELLINGTON

Click here to see the 2020/21 Plunket Shield schedule.

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