Cricket: CD pick Taylor's brains

By Anendra Singh

The boys were in no hurry to finish their curry at an Indian restaurant last night in Nelson but suffice it to say they intend to be slicker on the field today.

On a high after lifting the four-day Plunket Shield on Saturday, the Devon Hotel Central Districts Stags begin their one-day Ford Trophy today as defending champions against Northern Districts Knights at Saxton Oval from 11am.

While there's no Sky TV coverage until the final on March 30, the opening game should have a good blend of fireworks and intelligent play with the return of Black Caps for the first two games.

CD have inherited Ross Taylor while ND have welcomed Kane Williamson, Trent Boult and Tim Southee.

Stags batsman Carl Cachopa is in the New Zealand XI mix versus England in their first-class match at Queenstown from tomorrow. ND's Corey Anderson joins him and so does CD assistant coach Lance Hamilton, as manager.

"Head to head it should be pretty good outfits ... so it'll come down to doing the basics rights," CD veteran Mathew Sinclair said last night, adding taking catches, bowling tight and batting with discipline were going to be vital.

Sinclair said it was great to have Taylor back in the fold, fresh from his century in Napier.

"What we bring to the game is confidence after 40-odd days of slog in the Plunket Shield."

CD had discussed the new one-day rules with Taylor, such as those pertaining to two bouncers an over and the new field restrictions during powerplay.

Needless to say, coach Grant Bradburn is happy his troops have won four of their last six shield games, but nothing will whet ND's appetite more than denting CD's confidence with a first-up win.

"We started a little slow [in the shield] to be consistent at the sharp end so we're looking forward to the one-day competition," Bradburn said, complimenting New Zealand Cricket for keeping the competition together amid an Indian summer.

He welcomed the Black Caps for two games but said ND would perform well when they leave, despite having a youthful squad.

"We're strong on paper but we're keen to put it together on the field."

Any team with Taylor, he said would be tough to beat.

In other games today, Canterbury host Auckland at Hagley Oval and Wellington stick to their shield venue as well against Otago at the Basin Reserve.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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