New Zealand domestic news July 27, 2010

Grant Elliott to lead Wellington

Cricinfo staff

Grant Elliott, the New Zealand allrounder, has been named Wellington's captain in all three formats for the 2010-11 domestic season. He will take over from Matthew Bell, while offspinner Jeetan Patel replaces Neal Parlane as the vice-captain.

Elliott, 31, has little captaincy experience at the senior level but will have to lift Wellington after a dismal season in which they finished bottom of the table in both the Plunket Shield and the one-day competition. "Naturally everyone's disappointed with the performance of the team last season," he said. "But with change comes greater enthusiasm, and we're all extremely keen to turn things around together."

He was Wellington's Player of the Year for two successive seasons before missing much of the 2009-10 season due to a knee injury. Elliott expected the help of the coach and the senior players to turn Wellington into a team challenging for titles. "Fortunately we've got a top management support structure, led by head coach Anthony Stuart, and an experienced group of senior players aged in their late 20s and early 30s who are all at their peak of their games."

The young talent in the Wellington side also excited Elliott. "There are also some excellent young players emerging in Wellington, such as Harry Boam, Ili Tugaga, Josh Brodie, Michael Pollard, and Joe Austin-Smellie, just to name a few. I am very keen to help develop these players in to top first-class cricketers."

It remains to be seen how often Elliott will be free to represent Wellington since he has become a regular member of New Zealand's one-day side and is a centrally contracted player. Injury has kept him out of international cricket for the past eight months, but he has been picked for next month's one-day tri-series in Sri Lanka.

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