Sean Solia admitted to some surprise at being picked for New Zealand A's cricket tour to India.

After all, he's just completed one season for Auckland in domestic cricket, but there's something about the left-hand batsman and medium pacer that has caught the eye.

Maybe it was his rollicking 152 off 127 balls against Northern Districts on his List A debut last season, during which he struck eight sixes.

Or his T20 strike rate of 135; or his 50-over average of 77.66, with one ton and four 50s from seven innings.


Whatever. Solia knows the score.

"I just want to try and build on that this season. You never want to settle on past performances," he said.

At 24, Solia didn't take the usual New Zealand age group route. He played for Auckland from under-14 through the provincial grades, without making the New Zealand under-19 team, before graduating to the senior provincial squad last summer.

He is a clean striker of the ball and bowls at above medium pace. Here's a thought: perhaps national selectors Mike Hesson and Gavin Larsen want to explore all-round options, after a disappointing return from Jimmy Neesham and Corey Anderson at the Champions Trophy, plus another injury setback for Anderson.

Solia spent last year at the MCC as an inductee on the Young Cricketer to Lord's plan.

He was playing for the Hornsey club in the Middlesex League. Word got around about the Lord's scheme, Solia's name went forward and there was some confusion over whether he was a New Zealander or English player. Anyway, come on in young man, they said, and, along with his Auckland and now NZ A team-mate Glenn Phillips, he spent an enjoyable summer at cricket's HQ.

"It was an awesome experience being at the home of cricket. I was exposed to a lot of people and learning experiences and played a lot of cricket," he said.

Solia's father is Samoan, his mother a New Zealander and it was Dad who instilled his interest in cricket.

"He used to play kilikiti [Samoan form of cricket] and he got me into cricket. I enjoyed the challenge of it. Pacific Island people have a lot to offer the game, they're pretty good athletes and quick learners."

His Auckland coach Mark O'Donnell has plenty of time for the all-rounder. "He's a good kid and has a good, sound technique which will stand him in good stead. He's less fluent against the spinners, so India will be good for him," he said.

Solia has no argument with that ahead of his first trip to India. His age, more advanced than many making their first step into international cricket, won't hurt him and he appeals as a sensible, solid young man.

"Part of my review of last season was that I wanted to work on playing spin over the winter, so I have been working on that and it will be good to test it on the Subcontinent where it's notorious for spinners and turning wickets," he said.

His development is sure to take a significant stride ahead of the domestic cricket season.