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Cricket: Search on for next generation keeper

Dane Cleaver, Central Districts. Photo / Warren Buckland
Dane Cleaver, Central Districts. Photo / Warren Buckland

With Luke Ronchi 35 and BJ Watling 31, the search is on to find the Black Caps limited overs wicketkeeper of the next generation.

Ronchi had been anchored in the role since 2013 but a limited overs form slump - with the bat more than the gloves - saw Watling get another chance in India. Who would New Zealand call on if both were ruled out of contention this season in the abridged forms?

Tim Seifert (Northern Districts)

One figure stands out from Seifert's statistics last season - 168. That was his strike rate in eight T20 innings for an average of 22.16. There is a belief he can turn on the power but needs to do so consistently. He spent winter last year playing in the Huddersfield Drakes League in Yorkshire which included an innings of 239 off 134 balls, with 15 sixes - five of which came in the last over. It was apparently the highest total in the league's 124-year history. The former New Zealand under-19 keeper's glovework looks sound, judging by footage behind the stumps in first-class cricket this season, including sharp catches off Tim Southee's pace and Ish Sodhi's leg spin.

He has conceded 11 byes in four matches.

Dane Cleaver (Central Districts)

Sometimes a sportsman needs a turning point to realise their career potential. In the 2014-15 Ford Trophy Cleaver, a former New Zealand under-19 gloveman and schoolboy prodigy at Palmerston North Boys' High School, delivered three half-centuries on his way to 292 runs at an average of 58.40 and strike rate of 111. His maiden first-class century came last summer with 151 not out against Wellington in Napier. This season he's continued his red ball form with another century and half-century and looks compact and accomplished off the back foot. His glovework is understood to need more scrutiny but, at 24, he has started to take steps towards being recognised as a keeping contender.

Tom Blundell (Wellington)

The former New Zealand under-19 wicketkeeper's stocks are building. His selection for New Zealand 'A', who had their first-class fixture against Pakistan thwarted by weather, indicates he's held in high regard. Twelve catches and a stumping alongside 244 runs at 61 in the Plunket Shield this season have hinted at quality. The 26-year-old's also shown a penchant for whipping off a batsman's bails in the shorter forms. Considered more of a worker than belter of the ball, last season's List A strike rate of 80 and Twenty20 strike rate of 111 show he can accelerate.

Glenn Phillips (Auckland)

An outside chance here but, at 19, the South African-born opener has a promising career ahead. With forearms like a youthful Popeye, he demonstrates an explosive array of strokes. Phillips earned acclaim at England's Arundel venue on May 22 this year. He became the first batsman to record six sixes in an over at the ground, while playing for the Marylebone Cricket Club against the Duke of Norfolk XI. He made 201 off 123 balls before the declaration. Phillips did his share of keeping for the MCC and has done likewise for Auckland 'A'. He is yet to play T20s for Auckland.

- NZ Herald

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