The reputation of some of New Zealand's most well-known cricketers will be on the line in January when they take on a side comprising current and former All Blacks, led by captain Kieran Read, in a charity T20 match in Christchurch.
Billed as the Black Clash, the game will take place on January 25 at Hagley Oval with funds raised for the benevolent funds of the rugby and cricket player associations. The idea was put together by former New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming who will act as player-coach of Team Cricket with Brendon McCullum among the names also set to feature.
Kyle Mills, the former New Zealand pace bowler, will also be involved along with Grant Elliott, who announced his retirement from all forms of cricket last week, and Luke Ronchi. There could be an interesting tussle to see who has the services of Jeff Wilson, the former dual international who played both rugby and cricket for New Zealand.
Team Rugby will be coached by Sir Graham Henry and is expected to include Richie McCaw as well as Beauden and Jordie Barrett and Israel Dagg who were excellent cricketers before opting for the rugby career route. As a schoolboy fast bowler, Dagg impressed the Australians during a net session in Napier in 2005.
Read, meanwhile, played age-group cricket for Northern Districts in a team that featured Daniel Flynn, Anton Devcich, and BJ Watling but admitted there would be a few nerves ahead of his comeback
"I'm going to be a bit nervous, to be honest," he told Stuff.co.nz "You lose your hand-eye [co-ordination] pretty quick in this game. I'll have to get out and hit a few balls to get my eye back in."
The event is based around South Africa's Nelson Mandela Legacy Cup where the Springboks, the South African Rugby team, take on the Proteas, the national cricket team.
"I thought if we had the opportunity with a brand as big as the All Blacks, it would pique my interest," Fleming told the Herald on Sunday. "There is almost a bit of romanticism around this one, bringing a game to Christchurch in its rebuild.
"We're putting our reputations on the line here," he added. "We know just how good the likes of Kieran and his rugby mates are at cricket. They're exceptional athletes and many of them could have been international cricketers had they chosen another path. So we're on high alert, that's for sure."