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Home > Cricket > The Cup > Reuters > Report


New Zealand may use Franklin as pinch hitter

John Mehaffey | April 14, 2007 12:21 IST

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New Zealand may use left-arm pace bowler James Franklin as a middle-order pinch hitter after useful lower-order performances in the World Cup Super Eights against Ireland and Sri Lanka.

Franklin struck 34 not out against Ireland from 22 balls and helped ensure New Zealand went past the 200-run mark in the six-wicket loss to Sri Lanka on Thursday with an unbeaten 25 from 27.

"There are times when I am tempted to try him against the left-arm spinners and give them a belt in the middle and perhaps use him as a bit of a shock hitter," New Zealand coach John Bracewell told a news conference on Friday.

"I think he's grown in that sort of stature that that's now an option. He could end up being shifted in as a shock hitter at some point."

Franklin's batting has been more influential than his bowling which does not trouble good batsmen if the ball does not swing. Coming in at number nine he gives added depth to the batting and enhances the New Zealanders' versatility.

After Sri Lanka ended New Zealand's unbeaten run in the tournament on Thursday, they now face equally daunting challenges against South Africa and defending champions Australia.

SOFT DRAW

The eight points they have collected so far may be enough to qualify for the semi-finals but they would prefer to clinch a place with a win in either or both of their last two matches.

"We had quite a soft draw," Bracewell said. "This is the business end which is a good point for us leading towards the semi-finals and tough cricket leading into knockouts.

"You don't want to lose your rhythm but you have got to be realistic. Most teams will have a defeat.

"We will find out tomorrow how tired they are. Most people are doing recovery sessions today, it's an optional practice."

Two players who did opt to turn up to the nets on Friday were captain Stephen Fleming and Ross Taylor, who were both dismissed for ducks against Sri Lanka by Chaminda Vaas.

Bracewell said he was not concerned about New Zealand's top-order batting despite Thursday's performance in which only Scott Styris, who scored 111 not out, exceeded 31.

"I think Stephen Fleming is still in very good form," he said. "I think (opener) Peter Fulton is becoming very comfortable with the role. Scott Styris is having a great tournament and Ross Taylor, it was his first game back for quite some time."


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