Cricket: Injuries cut deeply into squads for North South T20

By David Leggat

Injuries to Doug Bracewell and Scott Kuggeleijn have opened the door for Colin de Grandhomme to play for the North Island side. Photo/Getty.
Injuries to Doug Bracewell and Scott Kuggeleijn have opened the door for Colin de Grandhomme to play for the North Island side. Photo/Getty.

A raft of injuries have hit both sides on the eve of the Origin T20 match at the Basin Reserve tomorrow.

Let's start with the North squad.

Test bowler Doug Bracewell, who injured his shoulder in the first test against Australia, is out. His place originally went to Northern Districts' Scott Kuggeleijn -- until he got a hamstring strain near the end of Northern Districts' last Plunket Shield match against Canterbury at Seddon Park.

That situation has opened a door for Auckland's big hitting, allrounder Colin de Grandhomme.

As for the South team, Neil Wagner's fractured knuckle, suffered during the second test loss against Australia this week, counts him out. Canterbury's former international seamer Hamish Bennett come into the 12.

And to wrap up the medical bulletin, Otago opener Hamish Rutherford has been ruled out.

He sat out the last Plunket Shield round after being struck in the head and has failed to get a medical test and his place in the South team has gone to Canterbury's Ken McClure.

Among those already ruled out by injury were Central Districts' limited-overs international left armer Ben Wheeler, Canterbury's Ed Nuttall and Otago's Warren Barnes.

On the good news front, senior batsman Ross Taylor is ready to return after suffering an oblique side strain against Pakistan at Wellington late in January.

That ruled him out of not only the three Australian ODIs but also the two tests, where his absence was sorely missed.

Fast bowler Mitch McClenaghan is also itching for action, having made a quiet return to competitive cricket with his Howick Pakuranga club side after suffering a heavy blow above his left eye against Pakistan in an ODI in late January.

McClenaghan is sure to play as he needs some match play ahead of the world T20 squad departing for Dubai. The T20 event starts in India in mid-March.

"It's a great opportunity for a T20 blowout before the world squad goes away," national selector Gavin Larsen said yesterday.

"Also it's going to be a game played in good spirit but very competitive."

Larsen said several players were engaging in good-natured banter on what might happen tomorrow at Thursday night's awards winner.

"There's also a group of guys on the fringe who will be looking to take an opportunity to make an impression."

Four players, Dean Brownlie, Colin Munro, Grant Elliott and Ish Sodhi, all born overseas, are playing for the island which contains their first major association.

South hold the mere, awarded to the winner in what is hoped will become an annual fixture.

The curtain raiser at 12.10pm, will be the first T20 international between New Zealand women and their Australian counterparts. Australia won the ODI Rose Bowl 2-1.

North v South Origin
Basin Reserve tomorrow
Sky Sport, 3.30pm

North Island: Ross Taylor (c, Lower Hutt), George Worker (Palmerston North), Anton Devcich (Hamilton), Colin Munro (Auckland), Jimmy Neesham (Auckland), Luke Ronchi, Dannevirke), Grant Elliott (Wellington), Colin de Grandhomme (Auckland), Todd Astle (Palmerston North), Ish Sodhi (Northern Districts), Adam Milne (Palmerston North), Mitch McClenaghan (Hastings).

South Island: Tom Latham (c, Christchurch), Peter Fulton (Christchurch), Dean Brownlie (Canterbury), Henry Nicholls (Christchurch), Ken McClure (Canterbury), Andrew Ellis (Christchurch), Nathan McCullum (Dunedin), Matt Henry (Christchurch), Marty Kain (Nelson), Jacob Duffy (Lumsden), Hamish Bennett (Canterbury), Nathan Smith (Dunedin).

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