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December 30, 2007
Mark O'Donnell, the Auckland coach, has urged New Zealand's selectors to call up allrounder Andre Adams for the first Test against Bangladesh starting on January 4 in Dunedin.
"Andre's been bowling well against all teams. It might be just domestic cricket, but he's got rhythm and timing right now, and to my mind that's when you should be grabbing guys," O'Donnell told the Sunday Star Times. "I don't think you can go very wrong if you keep going on form. Andre's been getting it through in the vicinity of 140kph and has the confidence and momentum to make a difference. It's the perfect time to pick him."
Adams has taken 29 wickets at an average of 8.27 so far in the provincial State Championship, including 6 for 68 against Otago in Dunedin.
However, revelations of a personality clash between Adams and national coach John Bracewell, and significant frustration with New Zealand's selectors, have done his chances little good.
For O'Donnell, though, form should be the ultimate criteria for selection. "He [Adams] hits the deck very hard and because of that is able to fully exploit any consistency in the surface. I've never seen a bowler with more ability to make balls keep low," he said. "With all due respect to Bangladesh I don't think it matters too much who you pick in terms of the result but in terms of harnessing the right sort of momentum for the England series that follows, I think it's very important that they pick Andre now."
O'Donnell also singled out Matthew Bell, the Wellington batsman with 13 Tests under his belt, as another in-form prospect. New Zealand's opening combinations have proved disasters lately and O'Donnell backed Bell, with 722 runs at an average of 103.14 mid-way through the State Championship, including two centuries and a high score of 265, to replace either Craig Cumming or Michael Papps.
"Sometimes I think we over-complicate our selections and get it wrong," O'Donnell said. "I reckon if we just kept picking the players who are showing the best form, we'd have a greater degree of success."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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