Ben Wheeler is not the type to brood over things even if his involvement elicits international attention as an elite cricketer.

Wheeler is the kind of bloke who takes stock from the highs and lows that a volatile, especially Twenty20, cauldron can offer before soldiering on.

That also applies to the Central Districts Stags cricketer's resolve after Australia took a shine to Black Caps bowlers in the five-wicket loss at Eden Park, Auckland on February 16.

"It's that kind of game and, obviously, the other team came out swinging so, yeah, it could have gone either way. You know, it was one of those times when the ball came out of the middle of the bat just one more time," said the 26-year-old from Blenheim who was the biggest casualty, going for 64 runs off 3.1 wicket-less overs.


His doggedness was evident when he returned to play in the losing Ford Trophy grand final for the William Young-led Stags soon after.

"I returned to play in the [CD] one-day final and, I suppose, you learn from those sorts of things and you move on pretty quickly."

He is returning from a regulation break to be part of the Heinrich Malan-coached CD facing the Auckland Aces in round seven of the four-day Plunket Shield match starting at Eden Park's outer oval tomorrow. He had sat out the previous round - the win against the Otago Volts in Napier late last week.

"It's pretty tough watching the boys play so it's easier being out there, that's for sure," he said.

The left-arm seamer, who flirted with becoming the most expensive T20 international bowler against the rampant Aussies, has enjoyed bonding with his CD teammates before they were to leave this morning for the Big Smoke.

Wheeler said the two waist-high, no-ball deliveries in his final over that prompted umpires to pull him out of the Black Caps' bowling attack were slips.

"I was just trying to hit a yorker, trying to pitch it up a little bit forward and it just slipped out so there was no intention of bowling them," he explained, after his first ball went for 13 runs.

"It was one of those things. It was hot and sweaty and it slipped out of my hand."


He said the Black Caps were looking intently at the big screen because opening batsman Martin Guptill was in a similar position in their innings and was given out.

"It was pretty marginal and it went upstairs and it was [deemed] above the waist and called so that's not out.

"It was pretty disappointing at the time.

"I guess I had had a bad sort of few weeks between the games so I was probably a little rusty in terms of matches played and execution but you've got to back yourself to be ready."

In the past few seasons, planting toe-crunching yorkers and employing other such tactics was second nature to him.

The claustrophobic venues, such as Eden Park and Pukekura Park, New Plymouth, he said did make it more challenging for bowlers.

"Puke is very small as well but it tends to favour the bowlers a little more in terms of consistency with the pitch."

Black Caps seamer Ben Wheeler says there was no malicious intent because the ball slipped out of his hand in the heat and humidity of the T20 against Australia. Photo/Photosport
Black Caps seamer Ben Wheeler says there was no malicious intent because the ball slipped out of his hand in the heat and humidity of the T20 against Australia. Photo/Photosport

At Eden Park that night, the benign batting wicket showed bowlers tough love.

"They [the Australians] were chasing 240 so they were going to go for everything.

"I guess you just get on a roll with a lot of confidence but, ideally as a bowler, you want to play on bigger grounds where you'll still have the same entertainment with the sixes and the fours."

He said his first delivery of the first over to D'Arcy Short went over the ropes off the outside edge of the bat for six.

"It's not often that you nick someone and it goes for six so it was one of those nights when it could have gone either way.

"It could have gone straight to the wicketkeeper or straight to a fielder so, obviously, they aren't huge boundaries and you've just got to adapt to that.

"Don't get me wrong. The Aussies are good and they hit them a fairly long way so everyone got hit for some big sixes and that's the way it rolls."

That night the balls either went over the ropes on the full or landed in empty spaces in the field.

"It's all part of the game but I'm sure the crowd enjoyed it."

Black Caps coach Mike Hesson had echoed similar sentiments to Wheeler, saying the game could have gone either way.

"He said I was unlucky in the first over and things just didn't fall into place as we had planned."

It is anticipated Black Caps batsman George Worker is expected to return but seamer Blair Tickner is likely to be rested another round after picking up a side strain at McLean Park.

"Ticks has been bowling very well throughout the season and has had a pretty big workload.

"It looks like a little niggle and, hopefully, it won't be for too long."

Depth had enabled Stags coach Malan to rotate his bowlers to rest the battle-weary boys.

Wheeler said the way CD had fought back in the second innings against the Volts last week was a great snapshot of the host side's quality and how a little bit more time in the middle had worked wonders.

He is looking forward to contributing with the bat down the order as well with Doug Bracewell and Adam Milne in a quest to scramble up the order.

For the record, Wheeler said Black Caps seamer Seth Rance often appointed himself vice-captain.

"I don't thing Youngy takes too much advice from Rancer but maybe if there's a fire he might listen to him," said Wheeler of Rance who is a Greytown fire station officer.

After his heroics in saving a landmark pub, The White Swan, a stone's throw away from his home, Rance endorsed the cross-pollination between his sport and fire-fighting job. He saw a niche in assuming the mantle of captaincy in cricket as well.

Wheeler said it was all tongue in cheek with Rance who had picked up a five-wicket bag against Otago. So did spinner Ajaz Patel while opening batsman Greg Hay had carried his bat for an unbeaten 134 runs in the last dig to seal a CD victory.

"He's awesome. He's good fun to have around the team. Rancer can follow up his five-for in the [previous] game so we'll work around him to bowl as a unit.

"If it's someone else's day then you work hard around them to tie things up so the other guys can strike," Wheeler said.