New Zealand cricket March 31, 2009

Oram targets championship game

Cricinfo staff
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Jacob Oram, the New Zealand allrounder, has said he will pull out of the IPL if he does not recover from his Achilles tendon injury before the first-class championship game starting April 5.

Oram was excluded from the New Zealand squad for the three-Test series against India after the selectors felt he had not yet regained complete match fitness. He played for Central Districts against Canterbury last week but could not bowl in the second innings because of pain in his foot. He was advised to miss his team's ongoing match against Auckland but said he was "pretty confident" of making the final. Central Districts and Auckland will meet for the final in Lincoln.

"I can understand people thinking I'm cotton-woolling myself but I'll definitely take myself out [of the IPL] if I don't get through the final," Oram told the Dominion Post. "I'm pretty confident I will make the final and I won't be tiptoeing through five days of cricket. I'm going to hit it hard, and deep down I think I'll be okay."

He said he had played against Canterbury to see if he could speed up his return to the Test side for the Napier Test. "… clearly I wasn't ready. The injury is back again but it's not a train smash, I'm not back to square one but it's a setback. It's more like two steps forward, one step back."

Oram was keen to return to be part of the IPL - he is a member of the Chennai Super Kings squad - and the World Twenty20 that follows immediately after in June. "The next two to three months are massive for me. I want to be part of both of those. Watching the guys play the first two Tests against India has been bloody tough on me. It's very hard, emotional at times. Believe me I want to get back more than anyone realises."