A New Zealand Masters Invitational Team has been selected to embark on a nine-match tour of Asia this April.
Indoor Cricket New Zealand was approached by the Singapore Indoor Cricket Association and India Indoor Cricket to send a Masters’ side to travel with the Open Men who also have a nine-match tour of Singapore and India running concurrently. The Masters tour will consist of four test matches in Singapore and five test matches in India.
The team is an Invitational side, made up of players across the four Men’s Masters’ grades. As such, the Board called for expressions of interest for the tour from players who had just competed at the World Series in South Africa last October. The expected make-up of the side from the Board’s perspective was a side primarily made up of players from the Over-40 age-group and above.
The Board appointed current Under-22 Men’s coach Paul Anderson and Over-45 Men’s coach David Russell as the coaches for this tour, with Christine Russell as the manager.
All three have now toured extensively with New Zealand, with Anderson leading the Over-35 Men to Gold at the World Series in South Africa last October, to go with his Over-30 title in 2013. Having coached New Zealand in over 50 tests, Anderson was the perfect candidate for the role. He will be assisted by Russell, a former Open Men’s representative, who has taken the Over-45 Men to second and third placed finishes at the last two Masters World Series.
Indoor Cricket New Zealand Chairman Tony Watkins noted there were plenty of opportunities for development on this tour, on what are rare international fixtures for a Masters’ side in a non-World Series year. “It’s a big month for international indoor cricket in April in the subcontinent. As with the Juniors, there is a dearth of fixtures between World Series years for Masters’ sides and we saw the invitation from Singapore and India as a great opportunity to give players that exposure to playing overseas in a different environment”, said Watkins. “With the tour running concurrently with the Open Men, the players will get a great insight into how that group prepares during such a tour, and for the coaches and management group to learn from the Open Men’s coaching staff. It’s also a great chance for India and Singapore to develop their own players as they are exciting, developing nations, looking to improve on the World stage and host more tournaments going forward”.
Anderson will continue to build on his impressive resume and is looking forward to the challenge. “Both David and myself are really happy with the balance of the side and are looking forward to the challenge of touring the subcontinent. I think there will be a lot of lessons learned from these series”, said Anderson. “The team selected is a great cross-section of the sides that played in South Africa, with three players from the Over-35 Men, three from the Over-40 Men, three from the Over-50 Men and one from the Over-50 Men. We also have one player on debut which is very exciting”.
The New Zealand Masters Invitational Team selected to tour Singapore and India in April is as follows (fixtures and schedule to be confirmed):
Johan VAN BILJON
The Indoor Cricket New Zealand Board congratulates those players selected and wishes them the best of success for the tour.