Adam Parore: NSW's signing smart and audacious

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For those still not convinced that Twenty20 is revolutionising the structure of cricket globally, Brendon McCullum's signing to play for New South Wales this weekend must surely have opened their eyes to the direction cricket is taking.

With the lure of a $4.5 million winner's purse in October's Champions League, and their participation now confirmed, NSW have done the only sensible thing - signed a superstar and qualified him to play as quick as they can. Their gamble is to assume that McCullum's Kolkota franchise will fail to qualify and that the wicketkeeper/batsman will therefore turn out for them.

From a NSW perspective this is a smart and audacious play which I suspect will pay off on a number of fronts: Queensland will probably get a hammering from McCullum's blade tonight; there will be huge interest in the game because of the surprise signing; and NSW's chances of winning the $4.5 million later in the year have undoubtedly taken a boost.

Equally surprising has been the decision of Otago cricket to release him when they have an important State Shield match this weekend - this speaks volumes of the goodwill McCullum has generated with them and New Zealand Cricket who have also backed the move.

The gesture of donating his $6000 match fee to junior cricket in Otago is a good example of why he is held in high regard and why, when he has called in a favour from his home association, they have been happy to oblige.

With an eye to the upcoming Chappell Hadlee series in Australia, the selectors have continued their policy of aggressively promoting youth - this time with the introduction of Trent Boult and Brendon Diamante.

The loss of Jacob Oram is significant, and a major issue for the side to overcome because of the balance he brings and his ability to strike the ball late in the innings.

This is particularly important as the batting side now has the ability to dial up a power play when it suits them.

Diamante's selection is an attempt to replace Oram's hitting and this will bring Neil Broom to the fore as well.

The Australians are as beatable as they have been in recent memory with their current side containing all number of changes from the star-studded line-ups we have become accustomed to.

If Oram were fit I would pick us to beat them over five games. His absence will make it tougher but it's hard to be intimidated by an Australian side full of promising youngsters yet to deliver on the big stage.

- NZ Herald

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