Andrew Alderson

Andrew Alderson is a sport writer for the Herald on Sunday.

Cricket: Franklin to open for Black Caps

Captain Ross Taylor has confirmed James Franklin will open the batting for New Zealand in their World T20 cricket opener against Bangladesh tonight in Pallekele.

The selection panel feel Franklin is the player to best meet the challenge with left-arm spin likely to occupy 12 overs of Bangladesh's bowling arsenal.

Franklin, Martin Guptill and Brendon McCullum will be New Zealand's top three. After them the order will float from numbers four through to eight, depending on the circumstances.

Taylor could come in next but so could Jacob Oram with his strike rate of 143 the highest among the New Zealand recognised batsmen. Oram would be brought in if it is deemed another left-hander is required to break up the left-arm bowlers' rhythm breaking the ball away from right-hand batsmen.

"We've got to be flexible," Taylor says. "Franky will open to put pressure on their left-armers but it is a green wicket at the moment so it could still seam around a bit.

Two right-handed batsmen are a lot easier for them to adapt to."

New Zealand is keen to get Tim Southee and Rob Nicol into the starting line-up after their well-documented stomach bugs.

Both trained fully yesterday but there is a concern they need to return to full hydration levels before they play.

"When they've been in bed a couple of days they might be alright to run around in practice but you've got to monitor their recovery time for games," Taylor says. "For instance, as a bowler, Timmy might exert more energy than a batsman so we've got to be careful. If we play him against Bangladesh he mightn't be available versus Pakistan."

The whole ground was enveloped in covers yesterday when the team arrived to practice. There is anticipation of rain as part of a late monsoon season. As a result, the wicket block has sweated and greened up.

Taylor says he is inclined to bat first in Twenty20 cricket under normal circumstances but if the wicket remained as green as its current state he would reconsider.

He joked the pitch seemed to have moved more towards the offside since he pummelled 131 off 124 balls (mainly through a mid-wicket arc) last time he played at the venue in New Zealand's 50-over World Cup dismantling of Pakistan in 2011.

Andrew Alderson flew to the Twenty20 World Cup in Sri Lanka courtesy of Emirates Airline (www.emirates.com/nz).

- Herald on Sunday

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