The Auckland Aces won’t be troubled by a swift change in formats when they start their 2018/19 Plunket Shield season against Wellington at the Basin Reserve tomorrow.
The Aces have just returned from a whirlwind trip to Abu Dhabi, where they played two T20 matches against franchise teams from Afghanistan and South Africa.
Head Coach Mark O’Donnell says the professionalism the players showed during the tournament has been exemplary.
“In hot conditions they trained in the nets and in the gym to prepare for round one of the Plunket Shield,” he says.
“The boys have been very professional in every aspect of their preparation for this match.”
O’Donnell has no doubt the tournament was a positive for the team.
“All players involved will be better for the opportunity and experience of playing in vastly different conditions.”
The Aces squad is bolstered by the return of BLACKCAPS batsman Jeet Raval, who brings a level of experience to a new batting line-up.
“Finn [Allen] and Graeme [Beghin] have worked extremely hard over the winter and pre-season,” says O’Donnell.
“With players away with New Zealand A they deserve the opportunity in our first domestic fixture.”
Beghin will make his First-Class debut, and spinner Will Somerville is in line to play his first four-day match for Auckland.
Auckland Aces squad to play Wellington Firebirds
Michael Guptill-Bunce (c)