Cricket: Worker again at Hesson's doorstep

By Anendra Singh

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CD Stags opener George Worker teases the ball past ND Knights wicketkeeper Tim Seifert in the rd 7 Ford Trophy match at Pukekura Park, New Plymouth, on Saturday. PHOTO: John Velvin/ESPNZ
CD Stags opener George Worker teases the ball past ND Knights wicketkeeper Tim Seifert in the rd 7 Ford Trophy match at Pukekura Park, New Plymouth, on Saturday. PHOTO: John Velvin/ESPNZ

Not only has he knocked the ball around and knocked over batsmen with his left-arm offies but George Worker's knuckles are raw from rapping on the revolving doors of international selection.

The burning question is when will New Zealand coach Mike Hesson pull his eye out of the peephole this time to not only open the door for the Central Districts opening batsman but also let him pass through the foyer to join the Black Caps in the theatre of dreams.

"I'm not going to make a secret of it. It's a strong goal of mine and I've been putting up performances over the last two seasons," said Worker after scoring 181 runs in the Stags' historic bonus-point, 227-run flogging of Northern Districts Knights in round seven of the one-day Ford Trophy match in New Plymouth on Saturday.

"Unfortunately the call hasn't come my way just yet but, if I can continue to knock that ball around, I can make it even harder for the selectors to say no.

"Obviously I'm still hungry for it. Sometimes it is hard when you keep putting performances on the board to see your name missed out of the team but, at the same time, I love coming back to play for CD and winning games," Worker said.

The 27-year-old leftie from Manawatu, who carved up 19 boundaries and seven sixes at Pukekura Park from 144 balls for his 10th A List century, also claimed 4-36 from 5.3 overs to eclipse his previous best figures in the format of 3-25.

The two-match ODI Black Caps squad member is averaging 41 internationally, 45 in Twenty20s at the same level from as many matches and a A List average of 43.03.

He has 38 and 35 scalps in A List and T20 formats, respectively, in the domestic arena.

While Hesson called him up to the lobby for the third T20 against Bangladesh last month in Mt Maunganui the coach didn't put him on stage.

With Martin Guptill twinging a hammy after the opening Chappell-Hadlee ODI, Hesson stuck with veteran ND batsman Dean Brownlie yesterday after the rain-abandoned fiasco in Napier.

One cannot blame Worker for feeling like a frustrated McLean Park fan when he is doing everything asked of him while Hesson wants more from Jimmy Neesham as a bowler in a quest to mould another allrounder.

Brownlie for Guptill is a like-for-like swap of right-handed batsmen to maintain that left-right combination with Tom Latham but that doesn't mean the Stag can't come in at the middle order.

It's not like Worker would be left mentally scarred against a third-rate Australian side although it makes one wonder, if that was the case, why wasn't the Stag injected against Bangladesh, a team resembling a domestic outfit and who gave numerous Black Caps batsmen another life to resurrect their innings.

"If things don't go my way there's no point in getting into a huff and puff about it.

"Hopefully I'll keep putting the figures up on the board and they can; t keep ignoring me for too long," he said.

Worker said it was imperative fifth-placed CD beat fourth-placed Auckland Aces at Pukekura Park on Wednesday because the winners would go through to the playoffs at the weekend.

The Aces lost by 25 runs at Colin Maiden Park to eventual playoff qualifiers Canterbury Kings on Saturday but CD will need another bonus-point statement.

It was a day of milestones as Worker and No 3 William Young forged a record second-wicket partnership of 184 for CD against all teams, eclipsing the 172-run one retired Jamie How and incumbent Black Cap Ross Taylor established against the Knights at QEII Park, Masterton, in 2004-05.

Red-ball king Ajaz Patel took 3-61 from 10 overs in what must have been testing conditions on a postage-stamp park to upgrade his A List personal best of 2-38.

According to NZ Cricket stats gurus, it's the biggest winning-run margin in CD's history in the format, exceeding their 217-run win over the Kings at the same venue in 2014-15.

It also smashed the domestic record, overshadowing the Otago Volts' 222-run victory against ND at Molyneux Park in 2014-15.

The CD total was also the sixth highest in Ford Trophy history - the Aces have that honour although five of the top six spots now belong to the Stags.

Despite the delay from dew after two days of persistent rain that left the park saturated, Worker said the wicket was good where CD top-order turned up on the day.

He saluted fellow opener Jesse Ryder for his 85 runs from 53 balls, including 11 fours and two sixes, in an opening-wicket alliance of 138 runs.

"He just did his thing and played the way he did and that allowed me to, I guess, give me a lot more time to play my game."

Worker said captain Young's contribution of 87 runs from 66 deliveries, including six fours and four sixes provided the ideal platform for the defending champions to keep their slim hopes alive for a consecutive treble.

"We had 15 to 20 overs to go so we thought, right, it's time to have a bit of fun so it was nice that it paid off."

CD posted 401/8 in 50 overs before skittling the Knights for 174 in 35.3 overs.

Black Cap Ben Wheeler and fellow new-ball seamer Seth Rance, returning from injuries, did the initial damage, with the latter almost unplayable in 2-14 from five overs, including a maiden.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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