Central Districts have been dealt a double injury blow ahead of their Super Smash elimination final against Auckland on Friday with recent international debutant Blair Tickner and batsman Josh Clarkson ruled out with injuries. They have, however, also regained the services of allrounder Doug Bracewell.
Both Tickner, who made his T20I debut against India earlier this week, and Clarkson suffered injuries while training at Nelson Park in Napier on Wednesday. Tickner sprained his ankle when his spikes got caught in the turf during a warm-up football game, and it was diagnosed as a sprain.
“It was a bit of a freak accident and he tripped up over himself playing football,” captain Tom Bruce said. “He’s sprained his ankle quite badly.”
Tickner has been Central Districts’ top wicket-taker in the Super Smash this season and joint-second overall with a tally of 15, sharing the spot with Auckland’s Mitchell McClenaghan, behind Canterbury’s Kyle Jamieson (22). Even without Tickner, Central Districts will field a strong pace attack comprising international names Bracewell, Adam Milne, Seth Rance and Ben Wheeler.
“There’s no shortage of experience within the group and having experienced the elimination final against Auckland in Auckland bodes well,” Bruce said. “There’s no second chances and we’ve been quite up and down this season. Hopefully we can turn it around.”
Clarkson was ruled out with a torn muscle in his groin, an injury he picked while bowling in the nets at the same training session. He was replaced in the squad by allrounder Kieran Noema-Barnett, who has an experience of 116 T20 games. Noema-Barnett brings with him good form, having scored 128 for Central Districts A against Auckland A in a Plunket Shield warm-up on Tuesday.
Auckland, meanwhile, will be boosted by the return of Colin Munro for the clash.
Last season too, Central Districts faced Auckland in the elimination final, which they won by 36 runs before losing to Northern Districts in the final.