Apr 152014

New Zealand have included uncapped off-spinner Mark Craig in their squad for their three-Test tour of West Indies in June.

The 27-year-old, who has taken 43 first-class wickets at 42.88, was a surprise inclusion in the 15-man party even after his fellow off-spinner Jeetan Patel withdrew for personal reasons.

Leg-spinner Ish Sodhi has also been named in the squad with spin-friendly conditions expected in the Caribbean, but there is no place for veteran all-rounder Daniel Vettori, who is still working his way back to peak condition after Achilles surgery last year.

Craig is one of two uncapped players in the squad along with wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi, who has previously represented New Zealand in limited overs matches.

“Mark has had a strong Plunket Shield taking 22 wickets and his right-arm off-spinners will be valuable against their left-handed heavy top order batting line-up,” said New Zealand coach Mike Hesson.


“Luke also provides us with middle-order batting cover as he’s a good player of spin bowling.”

Left-handed batsman Jesse Ryder and seam-bowling all-rounder Doug Bracewell have been omitted after being dropped from the squad for the second Test against India in February after a late-night drinking session.

The series against West Indies starts with the first Test in Kingston, Jamaica on June 8 before further matches in Trinidad and Guyana.

“While we gained a convincing 2-0 Test series victory against the West Indies in December they’ll be a totally different kettle of fish in their conditions,” Hesson added.

“And they’ll be driven to perform well in the first match which will be Chris Gayle’s 100th Test.”

Squad: B McCullum (captain), Anderson, Boult, Craig, Fulton, Latham, Neesham, Ronchi, Rutherford, Sodhi, Southee, Taylor, Wagner, Watling, Williamson.

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Apr 152014
Black Caps call-up puts Mark Craig in a spin

Published: 5:40PM Tuesday April 15, 2014 Source: ONE Sport

No one is more shocked at Otago off-spinner Mark Craig’s inclusion in the Black Caps Test squad than the man himself.

The uncapped 27-year-old was today named in the 16-strong squad to tour the West Indies later next month, with another spinner, Jeetan Patel, pulling out of the tour to focus on county cricket in England.

“I probably can’t say a couple of the words I said, on TV,” Craig told ONE Sport of his own reaction to his Test selection.

“But dad asked who that was on the phone and I said, ‘aww that was Bruce and I’m going to the West Indies’.”

“I think he nearly fell out of his chair, and mum, she welled up a little bit. But, it was awesome.”

Craig’s selection follows a patch of strong one-day form, his 22 first class wickets ranking him among the best spinners this season.

“He’s a true off-spinner, I guess one of the old traditional ones, beats guys in the air, he spins the ball hard,” explained Black Caps coach Mike Hesson.

“He’s a capable batsman. He was probably initially 12-months away in terms of involving him in New Zealand A – but it could be the making of him.”

Patel’s unavailability has thrust the spotlight on Craig, who’s international selection is made even more staggering, after serious illness almost curtailed his career.

“Basically I had what’s called chronic fatigue syndrome,” Craig explained.

“And I had to come back to Auckland for 10 or 11 months, where I went through various different methods of treatment and finally got it sorted and back down to Dunedin I went.”

In fact, Craig was out of all cricket for almost two years, making his comeback to the the highest level even more remarkable.

Meanwhile, the selectors have also issued a call-up for one-day wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi, while opener Peter Fulton also earns a reprieve, although his opening spot is no longer guaranteed.

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Apr 142014
Mark Craig, Luke Ronchi included in Black Caps Test squad

Otago off-spinner Mark Craig and Wellington wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi are in line for Test debuts after being named in the Black Caps squad to tour the West Indies next month.

Coach Mike Hesson says Daniel Vettori was not ready for the intensity of bowling in Test cricket, while Jeetan Patel wasn’t considered for personal reasons.

He says Craig will offer a good balance with leg-spinner Ish Sodhi.  

“Mark has had a strong Plunket Shield, taking 22 wickets, and his right-arm off-spinners will be valuable against their left-handed heavy top order batting line-up. He’s been in our sights for some time and was also chosen for our winter training squad.”

Ronchi will provide wicket-keeping and middle-order batting cover for regular keeper BJ Watling.

“While we gained a convincing 2-0 Test series victory against the West Indies in December, they’ll be a totally different proposition in their conditions and they’ll have the added motivation to perform well in the first match, which will be Chris Gayle’s 100th Test.”

Jesse Ryder and Doug Bracewell weren’t considered as they are yet to satisfy the selectors that they have their off-field issues under control.

Black Caps: Brendon McCullum, Corey Anderson, Trent Boult, Mark Craig, Peter Fulton, Tom Latham, James Neesham, Luke Ronchi, Tim Southee, Hamish Rutherford, Ross Taylor, BJ Watling, Ish Sodhi, Kane Williamson, Neil Wagner.

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Nov 022013
Otago pick up where they left off in T20 comp

Otago started the defence of their national domestic T20 title with an emphatic win and extended their unbeaten run in the competition to 11 games.

The Volts beat the Canterbury Wizards by 47 runs under lights at Christchurch’s Hagley Oval tonight comfortably outplaying their Southern neighbours.

In fact, they gave them a T20 lesson.

Otago scored 168-9 to Canterbury’s limp 121 all out.

Otago bowled better, completely outplayed Canterbury with the bat and were sharper in the field.

They reached the boundary plenty – hitting 15 fours and three sixes – but they kept the scoreboard ticking with singles.

Canterbury were guilty early of trying to thump everything and faced far too many dot-balls.

That allowed Otago’s impressive bowling attack to strangle the Wizards out of the contest.

Otago offspinner Mark Craig took 3-29 while import Ryan ten Doeschate and quicks Neil Wagner and James McMillan took two wickets apiece.

Canterbury’s reached 17-0 after two overs, but their chase fell apart from there.

During overs four through eight, the Wizards scored just 13 for the loss of two wickets at the Volts tightened the screws.

In the same period the visitors scored 36-1.

Opener Rob Nicol top scored with a run-a-ball 31, but no-one else in the top six could even reach double figures.

Batting at No 8, Ronnie Hira was Canterbury’s next best with 22.

Earlier, Otago’s 168-9 was built largely around a 70-run third wicket partnership between skipper Derek de Boorder (43) and Aaron Redmond (33).

They took few risks, but managed to score easily.

Much to the disappointment of the crowd, Jesse Ryder, chipped out early.

Ryder was the competition’s leading scorer last year, but only managed 1 tonight.

When Redmond was bowled by Hira, Otago’s Dutch international Ryan ten Doeschate came to the crease and scored an impressive and easy-looking 35 off 26 balls.

With ten Doeschate at the crease a score in the 180-190 range looked possible, but the home side wrestled back the momentum with late wickets.

Logan van Beek was the surprise star for the Wizards taking 3-19 from three overs including the important scalps of de Boorder and ten Doeschate.

Matt Henry picked two wickets at the top of the order, dismissing both openers, Ryder and Neil Broom.

From 155-4, Otago dipped to 168-9 from their 20 overs, but it turned out to easily be enough.

Canterbury do have a chance at revenge next week when the two teams meet, again under lights, at Dunedin’s University Oval, on Friday.



N Broom b Henry 21

J Ryder c Ellis b Henry 1

A Redmond b Hira 33

D de Boorder c Henry b van Beek 43

R ten Doeschate b van Beek 35

M Bracewell c Worker b van Beek 19

S Wells c Fulton b Ellis 6

M Craig run out (Worker) 7

N Wagner run out (Cachopa/Ellis) 0

J Duffy not out 0

Extras (2lb, 1wd) 3

Total (for nine wickets, 20 overs) 168

Fall of wickets: 6, 27, 97, 111, 155, 156, 163, 163, 168.

Bowling: H Bennett 3-0-27-0, M Henry 3-0-21-2, R Hira 4-0-29-1 (1wd), R Nicol 4-0-37-0, A Ellis 3-0-33-1, L van Beek 3-0-19-3. 


R Nicol b Craig 31

G Worker b McMillan 4

D Brownlie c Wells b Wagner 9

P Fulton c Wells b McMillan 1

B Cachopa c de Boorder b Craig 3

S Keen c de Boorder b ten Doeschate 9

A Ellis c Wells b Craig 19

R Hira c Broom b Wagner 22

M Henry c Bracewell b ten Doeschate 0

L van Beek c Wagner b Duffy 10

H Bennett not out 4

Extras (1lb, 6wd, 2nb) 9

Total (all out, 17.5 overs) 121 Fall of wickets: 17, 26, 30, 35, 54, 66, 87, 87, 109, 121

Bowling: J McMillan 4-0-18-2, J Duffy 2.5-0-35-1 (2wd, 2nb), N Wagner 3-0-11-2, M Craig 4-0-29-3, R ten Doeschate 4-0-27-2. Otago Volts win by 47 runs.

– © Fairfax NZ News

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