Central Districts Stags coach Heinrich Malan says they aren't signing any imports for the most abbreviated and glitzy format of domestic cricket this summer.

"No, we won't be having imports because we'll be focusing on players who are born and bred in the CD environment," says Malan.

The Stags open their account against the Northern Districts Knights at Bay Oval, Tauranga, on Thursday next week from 7pm although the Burger King Super Smash Twenty20 competition starts today.

The CD Hinds will play ND Spirit in the curtain-raiser to the blokes from 3.45pm in the double header in an effort to boost the profile of women's domestic cricket.


He says bedding in talent for the past few summers has created a pathway for a rash of Stags to go on to become internationals.

"We have a lot of players who have played international cricket and we have a lot who will play it so we're, obviously, backing them to go out there to show us their skills and win cricket games."

The New Zealand A coach says if CD are going to consider an import he'll be of the ilk of someone such as former Sri Lanka international Mahela Jayawardene who has represented the Stags for the best part of two seasons.

"He's been a standout in terms of being the best player on the park for both teams so that's the sort of player I'm after.

"I don't think getting a player for the sake of getting one is the right approach."

Malan, whose contract expires with CD at the end of the 2018-19 season, says his incumbents are aspiring internationals so they have got to step up to the higher echelons to be that regardless.

A CD squad of 20 was preparing at Nelson Park, Napier, yesterday but only 12 players were going to make the cull for the opening match on Thursday next week.

The team will be officially released at midday today but it had been leaked to social media that Black Cap allrounder Tom Bruce was likely to be named captain.

It was leaked through social media that Tom Bruce (right) will captain the Central Districts Stags during the Burger King Super Smash Twenty20 campaign from next week. Photo/Warren Buckland
It was leaked through social media that Tom Bruce (right) will captain the Central Districts Stags during the Burger King Super Smash Twenty20 campaign from next week. Photo/Warren Buckland

The Gary Stead-coached Black Caps white-ball squad will be named not long after Christmas. However, the one-day side to play against the touring Sri Lankans here will be named this weekend so CD players can come into the equation earlier.

Bruce, George Worker, Ben Wheeler, Doug Bracewell and Seth Rance have been made available for Stags selections among 20 other Kiwi international contenders released to showcase their skills in the early rounds of the Super Smash competition.

"The [Sri Lanka 2nd] test starts on the 26th [Boxing Day] so we're not sure if we're going to get back some of those boys if they're not selected."

Malan, who missed out on the Black Caps coach position to Stead this year, says it's an opportune time for players in the CD squad to show their worth and return to the drawing board if they miss out in the quest for higher honours.

"We've stuck with the boys who have done that with us for 18 months in various formats so we have an understanding of which players play which roles for us," he says, adding their challenge is to find consistency and if they do that then winning will be a formality.

No doubt, those who miss out will be disappointed but Malan feels that fosters healthy competition.

"It makes sure people rock up with the right attitude and keep training so that they get better."

He says the Stags came close to winning the T20 crown last year, losing by six wickets in the 2017-18 grand final to the Auckland Aces in February although they also had a humbling nine-wicket loss in the title-winning clash to the Knights in the previous season.

From where Malan is sitting, the T20 beast demands a mindset of winning every game to earn the right to another grand final.

Consequently he dismisses any suggestions CD hold the four-day Plunket Shield in higher regard than the white-ball formats, including the completed one-day Ford Trophy competition.

Needless to say, the Stags are aware a mediocre T20 stint can have an adverse roll-on effect on the book-end phase of the first-class campaign to defend the shield.

Malan says the incremental growth and maturity of the Stags mean the rub of the wicket in agonising losses from the past two seasons should go their way this summer.