Cricket: Franklin could open again

James Franklin could open the batting again for the Black Caps. Photo / Getty Images
James Franklin could open the batting again for the Black Caps. Photo / Getty Images

James Franklin could see more time at the top of the Black Caps batting order during the Twenty20 World Cup after opening in the side's warm-up defeat to South Africa last night.

Franklin managed 12 from 11 balls in the nine run defeat but Ross Taylor says the move up the top of the order for the left-hander is an option against sides which are expected to open with spin.

"We've seen South Africa open the bowling with a left-arm spinner [Robin Peterson] and we thought sending Franklin up there just to break it up a little bit," Taylor said,

"As it worked out [Martin] Guptill was the one who took him on. Franky I thought batted really well and I wouldn't rule that out for other games during the tournament."

Taylor said Franklin's move up the order could be replicated during their World Cup pool D matches against Bangladesh and also Pakistan on Sunday.

The sub-continent conditions may suit Franklin who performed well for the Mumbai Indians during last year's Indian Premier League, finishing the tournament with the side's highest batting average, topping teammate Sachin Tendulkar in their run to the semifinals.

Franklin's odds of opening may be strengthened with opener Rob Nicol not travelling with the side to Kandy today due to an illness picked up that has gone through the team. Tim Southee didn't travel either.

Southee reported to medical staff that he felt unwell yesterday morning. He was not able to attend the warm-up match against South Africa and subsequently displayed symptoms associated with gastro-enteritis.

Nicol was sick overnight and could not travel comfortably today so will also remain in Colombo under observation of the team doctor.

Because Southee showed signs of dehydration it has been decided that he will receive re-hydration treatment at the local hospital. If sufficient improvements are made today the pair will travel to Kandy later tonight NZT. Daniel Vettori, who was also ruled out of yesterday's warm-up match due to illness, has improved and is travelling with the team today.

With Vettori and Southee ill, and Kyle Mills and Jacob Oram injured, the Black Caps were forced to use bowling coach Damien Wright in the field against South Africa but skipper Ross Taylor is confident he will have a full squad for Friday's opener.

"We had a few illnesses leading into the match, only having 11 there, but the whole squad's had a game so far in the last couple of weeks so we're looking forward to the start of the World Cup," he said.

"Millsy [Kyle Mills] and Jake [Jacob Oram] weren't going to play in the first place. Dan and Timmy falling ill, both eating at the same place, I'm not sure what it was. It's part and parcel of this part of the world. Sometimes you do get sick and hopefully we've got it out of the way now and there will be 15 people to choose from come the first game."

The depleted squad gave young bowlers Doug Bracewell and Adam Milne another chance to impress ahead of possible World Cup debuts.

Milne was the pick of the New Zealand bowlers after taking the wickets of the two South African openers and finishing with 2-26 from four overs. Bracewell dismissed South Africa's top scorer AB de Villiers for 54 while giving up 36 runs in three overs.

"They probably wouldn't have gotten an opportunity had they not gone down," Taylor said who led the Black Caps 75 from 42 balls, including seven sixes.

"They are both very young in their international careers and even though it was a warm-up game they would have learned a lot from the way they bowled, not only that but playing against and watching some of the world's best quick bowlers in action."

The Black Caps tried a few different tactics along with Franklin at the top of the order. The side opened with two spinners in Nathan McCullum and Ronnie Hira after using just three overs of spin in their loss to Australia. It worked briefly, with just 18 runs coming from the first three overs before Hira went for 19 in the fourth over as South Africa went on to post an impressive 186 for six.

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