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Northern Youngster Boults Into Aussie Cauldron

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Fuseworks Media
Northern Youngster Boults Into Aussie Cauldron

By Daniel Gilhooly of NZPA

Wellington, Jan 22 NZPA - After half a season of domestic cricket Northern Districts paceman Trent Boult has been flung through the New Zealand selection revolving door to face Australia next month.

Boult and seasoned Central Districts allrounder Brendon Diamanti will make their international debut on the furnace of Australian soil in the five-match Chappell-Hadlee one-day series.

Left-armer Boult and Iain O'Brien -- who has one one-day international under his belt -- come in for dropped paceman Mark Gillespie in a youthful 14-man squad announced today.

Diamanti replaces injured allrounder Jacob Oram while Peter Fulton takes over from struggling batsman Daniel Flynn for the tour which begins with a match against an Australian Prime Minister's 11 at Canberra on Thursday next week and finishes with a Twenty20 international in Sydney on February 15.

The first of the one-dayers is at Perth on February 1.

Rotorua-born Boult's selection is the biggest surprise, heading off Gillespie, in-form seamer Ewen Thompson and experienced international Chris Martin.

The latter pair have done little wrong in limited opportunities this summer, but not enough to convince convenor of selectors Glenn Turner.

Having shone for New Zealand under-19 last year, Boult made his Northern Districts debut in November.

He took nine wickets at 23.9 in three State Championship four-day matches and sits third on the State Shield wicket-taking list with 13 at 26.9.

"Trent is an emerging player but he's done pretty well recently so we think this is the opportunity for him," Turner told NZPA.

"He's quite brisk and he's a leftie and he's proved that he's got good accuracy.

"Initially we would have thought the longer form of the game, but he's proved that that's not the case. We've been pleasantly surprised that he's done as well as he has in the limited overs stuff."

Turner didn't think taking Boult to Australia was cricket's equivalent of being thrown to the lions.

"These days there's no hiding any more.

"You can save people up to play the weaker sides but there's less and less of them and it just delays someone's development.

"We've got India here next month and arguably India are stronger than Australia."

Turner said Gillespie had proved too expensive against the West Indies and O'Brien had finally started to take his fine form in the test arena into one-day cricket.

"Iain has been working on his variations and the type of bowling needed in the shorter form of the game and done pretty well for Wellington."

In contrast, Flynn's compact test technique hadn't transferred well, with Turner calling for more aggression from the 23-year-old.

Fulton sits only ninth on the State Shield runs list but Turner said his 44 one-day internationals, where he averages 34.4 counted in his favour.

"There was real competition for that position but the fact is that we know that he is a good player and he adds a bit of experience to the group."

Diamanti, 27, has been a consistent performer for Central Districts since 2003.

He has scored 174 runs in the State Shield this year at 43.5 and at a good rate.

His right-arm medium paced bowling has claimed eight scalps at 49.5 although Turner admitted he hasn't been as tight as last summer, when he was the stingiest bowler in the competition.

"He's got good change of pace and accuracy, a good fielder and can hit big in the lower order."

Diamanti was selected for New Zealand A last winter but couldn't play as he was on paternity leave.

A number of new players have been groomed at test and one-day level this year and Turner admitted the selection panel had been leaning towards giving new players a chance.

"We are sometimes taking the opportunity to blood players rather than bring players back," he said.

"But in no case should anyone think their career is over, they just have to post the results."

He is hopeful the world class Oram could yet join the team for the last couple of games in Australia, depending on his rate of recovery from an Achilles tendon injury.

"We're treating this somewhat like a home series -- we may look to bring players in and out of the squad as required," Turner said.

Back-up wicketkeeping duties will be covered by Jesse Ryder, who has previously donned the gloves at lower levels.

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