Former Australia under-19 cricket representative Kyle Gardiner will make his debut for the Hawke's Bay senior men's team against Taranaki at Napier's Nelson Park this weekend.
"Kyle has been impressive during club play and we're pretty excited about bringing him in," Pay Excellence Hawke's Bay coach Dave Castle said on the eve of the two-day first round Furlong Cup fixture.
A right arm leg spinner, Gardiner, 22, boasts figures which back up Castle's claims. Bowling for Ruahine Motors Central Hawke's Bay Gardiner took 2-16 in an eight wicket win against Heretaunga Building Society Cornwall and 3-9 in a six wicket win against You Travel Taradale.
"We also got some good feedback from the likes of Christian Leopard and some of our other boys who have played with and against him in Australia," Castle said.
All rounder Leopard returns to the Bay squad after playing for the New Zealand T20 Selection against England. Leopard's Innovate Electrical Napier Technical Old Boys clubmate Jayden Lennox will captain the side in the absence of the unavailable Jake Smith.
Lennox and fellow Texans and Hawke's Bay representatives Leopard and Todd Watson, are again displaying the benefits of a stint in Darwin with the Palmerston club.
Castle said Lennox is a bit more agile after losing some weight while in Darwin and bowled well for the Bay last weekend in Mount Maunganui.
"Jayden is doing a good job as captain of Tech and I'm sure he will do the same with us."
Hawke's Bay will also miss the services of New Zealand under-19 all rounder Joey Field who is injured and Brad Schmulian who is on Central Districts duty.
"We've got plenty of depth and we have had to go wider into our squad but I'm confident we will be good enough to get the job done," Castle said.
He expects Taranaki to play former New Zealand under-19 right arm medium pacer Ryan Watson who will have returned from his 12th man duties with Central Districts.
"We know what Taranaki will bring. We just need to be patient and make sure we do the job necessary to cope with what they will bring," Castle added.
The Hawke's Bay team for this weekend is:
Jayden Lennox (captain), William Clark, Matt Edmondson, Kyle Gardiner, Callum Hewetson, Luke Kenworthy, Christian Leopard, Angus McKnight, Ben Stoyanoff, Todd Watson, Bayley Wiggins, Luke Wright.