Cricket: Speedster Milne will be under spotlight

By David Leggat

It is conceivable no New Zealand player will be under greater scrutiny in the limited-overs series in Bangladesh than young speedster Adam Milne.

Sure, there will be other areas of keen focus too, including the three-way contest between the middle order hitting candidates Corey Anderson, Colin Munro and Jimmy Neesham, and how newcomer Anton Devcich fits into the picture.

But Milne has a point of difference to the other leading seamers around the country. He's distinctly sharp.

Niggling injuries, notably shin and side problems, have limited his chances since his debut against Pakistan at Eden Park on Boxing Day 2010.

He has appeared in just four T20s and two ODIs but his performances on New Zealand A's tour of the subcontinent last month forced the selectors' hand and he hopes to make use of what he's learned from that trip, and attending the world T20 in Sri Lanka late last year.

"It was tough over there," he said of the NZ A tour.

"The wickets were not seamer-friendly but I bowled pretty well and managed to take a few wickets in the power plays and at the death, which is pretty positive."

Milne grabbed 14 wickets in five 50-over games on that trip at 18.3 apiece.

He hasn't been clocked by the speed gun recently but said he feels "pretty good" even on the slower subcontinental pitches.

"I had it coming out quite nicely.

"I'd imagine it might have been reasonably sharp, but not express, I think."

However the 21-year-old from Palmerston North is determined that he wants to keep that pace up, and backs away from any notion of dropping back into becoming a bowler for whom accuracy, line and length are the key elements.

"In New Zealand we're starting to produce more fast bowlers and we have got a good group of bowlers.

"That's good for the depth and the players coming through are putting pressure on the Black Caps as well.

"Obviously I want to bowl fast and try to use my pace as a weapon. I'd never try and settle for medium pace," he said.

Milne is in good physical shape, having spent the New Zealand winter at the Frinton-on-Sea club on the Essex coast where regular bowling, without overloading himself, kept his body ticking over. He hopes to feel the benefits in the coming season with Central Districts.

Milne is philosophical about injuries, accepting they can be the lot of those who strive for maximum speed.

"They're forever playing a part in your career. I'm never going to be injury free, but I've been managing the little niggles and sore points I have. You've got to battle through a few things."

Milne acknowledged the frustrations that injuries bring - and is thankful that his back has held up ("touch wood") so far - but knows they come with the job.

As for Bangladesh, the idea is to show enough to push his credentials for more ODI and T20 opportunities, "and if I get some game time get some confidence at international level".

The World Cup in early 2015 is the elephant in the corner of the room for all New Zealand players.

Milne is no different, but he wants to tick off shorter-term goals.

"If I do those well the big picture will come with that."

- NZ Herald

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