Cricket: Gayle won't blow in from across ditch

By Anendra Singh

Never mind all that jazz about Chris Gayle playing for the Wellington Firebirds.

The word is the West Indies cricketing body will not let the giant master blaster cross the Tasman to the HRV Cup Twenty20 competition after his mediocre Big Bash campaign in Sydney.

What is definite, though not necessarily riveting, is that BJ Barnett and Hawke's Bay's Michael Taiaroa are in the Devon Hotel Central Districts Stags' mix for 12th man in today's match against the Auckland Aces at Pukekura Park, New Plymouth, from 4pm.

"They have been the best performers at the A's [annual New Zealand A Provincial Tournament] in Christchurch, according to the coach [Andrew Cavell, of Nelson] and selector [assistant coach Craig Ross]," Stags coach Alan Hunt said last night as CD desperately seek their second victory this summer from three remaining games in a bid to avoid the wooden spoon.

A middle-order batsman and offspin bowler who played a first-class match last summer, Barnett will have the edge on batsman Taiaroa.

Not in the mix are William Young (injured), Black Cap Adam Milne (injured), Jamie How (paternal duties), Jacob Oram (paternal duties), Kruger van Wyk (injured, Plunket Shield deadline) and Black Cap Ross Taylor (time out from dumping as captain).

Hunt said Young had required surgery for a dislocated batting finger but it might be 6-8 weeks before he would start rehabilitation for perhaps the back end of the one-day Ford Trophy campaign from late next month.

"Milney's having testing on his shin/ankle sort of area today and tomorrow and that'll probably be the decision on whether he'll be going to play in South Africa when the Black Caps go [this Saturday]."

He expects Oram and How will be back at Pukekura Park on Sunday for the game against Otago Volts from 4pm.

Hunt said Taylor was back in the gym and the coach was confident he would see the country's best international batsman back for the January 24 shield match against the Canterbury Wizards at McLean Park, Napier, mindful it made little sense for him to play the remaining T20 matches after CD's worst run in history.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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