Cricket: Van Wyk or Watling? Wright silent on keeping role

Either Kruger van Wyk or BJ Watling will stand behind the stumps against Zimbabwe. Photo / APN
Either Kruger van Wyk or BJ Watling will stand behind the stumps against Zimbabwe. Photo / APN

Wicketkeeper remains the position of most interest as the Black Caps approach the one-off test against Zimbabwe and coach John Wright has added to the intrigue by saying both BJ Watling and Kruger van Wyk are in the running to wear the gloves.

While Watling appears most likely to get the job, Wright isn't ruling out van Wyk for the match which starts at McLean Park in Napier on Thursday.

Both have come in for dropped Canterbury wicketkeeper Reece Young and both had their moments in the recent drawn three-day match in Gisborne between a New Zealand XI against Zimbabwe.

Watling, who wore the gloves in the match, scored 84 before being run out in the first innings and 20 retired in the second. Van Wyk managed only five in the first dig but made amends with 61 retired off 74 balls in the second, an innings which included eight fours.

Wright said he was "fairly way down the track'' on who was likely to start on Thursday but would keep the decision on which of the South African-born players he would select to himself until the first morning of the test.

"Kruger's made a lot of sacrifices to try to make it into the national team ... so what we've got is a lot of internal competition between two great men,'' he said.

"You know that whoever ends up starting will bring an exciting spirit and attitude.

"You've got to weigh up whether you're happy with BJ doing the job or whether we give him more time and let Kruger have first opportunity.

"They both understand that the best man will play and that's what we're trying to do in all our positions - create more competition.''

Wright added he was looking for his batsmen to adapt the appropriate mindset for the test after a heavy diet of Twenty20 cricket over the past month.

"It's something we have talked about so it'll be challenging for them because they have been playing that for a month now.''

One positive was the batting form of Brendon McCullum, Martin Guptill and Dean Brownlie, who have all hit centuries in the recent HRV Cup competition.

"Those three come in to give us some sort of opportunity to cash in on ball striking. In the end, it's the balance of working out how to play five-day cricket, which is, you know, hitting the right shots at the right balls,'' Wright said.

The McLean Park wicket is expected to favour the batsmen which could present a challenge to the Zimbabwe attack which made few inroads into the New Zealand XI's batting order yesterday.

"If you are a batsman and you want to make some runs, then Napier isn't a bad place to be,'' Wright said.

- APNZ - Additional reporting Hawke's Bay Today

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