New Zealand domestic news July 15, 2009

Hopkins made Auckland captain

Cricinfo staff

Gareth Hopkins, the wicketkeeper-batsman, has been named Auckland captain for the next season. He takes over from Richard Jones, who led Auckland to the State Championship title last season.

Hopkins, who switched from Otago two seasons ago, has had a fruitful spell at Auckland, scoring 804 runs at 53.6 besides becoming the first-choice wicketkeeper ahead of Reece Young.

"It's a real honour to be given the captaincy," Hopkins said. "It's a role I've always been keen to tackle and I feel that it's an exciting time for Auckland with the new coaching structure and the number of great young players we have coming through."

Auckland announced last week that former Zimbabwean legspinner Paul Strang would continue as head coach for two more years. "I'm looking forward to working with Paul Strang to make it a season to remember," Hopkins said.

Auckland Cricket CEO Andrew Eade welcomed Hopkins' elevation, saying he would bring "something special" to the role. "He has been an integral member of the side since his arrival two seasons ago," Eade said, "and we think he certainly has all the qualities necessary to do a great job."

The news comes a week after Hopkins was overlooked as back-up keeper for the Test series against Sri Lanka next month.