Northern Districts will front a strong side when they host the first round of the Plunket Shield against Central Districts at the Bay Oval from Monday.
Fresh from returning from the NZA tour of India, Scott Kuggeleijn and Tim Seifert will re-join the team and Anton Devcich and Daniel Flynn have returned to fitness having worked hard over winter to overcome leg and hip injuries.
Northern Districts are confident of a solid start to the cricket season, with head coach James Pamment and captain Daniel Flynn pleased with the preparation the team have put in during spring camp despite inclement weather interrupting preparation.
"We are in good shape which is great at this time of year and the progression into skills has been good. We have been fortunate to get some sun on our backs and on to grass surfaces over the recent weeks of training which certainly helps as well," Pamment said.
Former Mount Maunganui club player Flynn is looking forward to getting back into cricket having missed most of last season through injury and says his team is ready for their first challenge against CD.
"For the first game of the season everyone feels their way into it, but we are looking to hit the ground running with the prep we have put in."
Brent Arnel will appear in his first match for ND after four seasons with Wellington, having previously played 56 first-class games for Northern Districts. BJ Watling will keep wicket for ND, with Seifert featuring as a specialist batsman. Daryl Mitchell and Henry Cooper were not considered because of shoulder and hamstring injuries sustained recently.
Northern Districts team v Central Districts Stags
Daniel Flynn (Captain and Bay of Plenty) Brent Arnel (Hamilton), James Baker (Hamilton), Dean Brownlie (Bay of Plenty), Anton Devcich (Hamilton), Zak Gibson (Waikato Valley), Scott Kuggeleijn (Hamilton), Bharat Popli (Bay of Plenty), Brett Randell (Northland), Tim Seifert (Waikato Valley), Josef Walker (Hamilton), BJ Watling (Hamilton).
Round 1 of the Plunket Shield starts at 10.30am, Monday, at Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui and is free entry.