NZ intensify preps for Zim tour

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NAPIER — The drums are beating for a Derek de Boorder call-up to the New Zealand Test cricket team, but it seems the hard-working 26-year-old isn’t listening that intently.

The Otago wicketkeeper has been tipped as a contender to replace Reece Young and make his Test debut for New Zealand against Zimbabwe in Napier on January 26.

The 32-year-old Young offered nothing with the bat against Australia in the two Tests recently and didn’t impress entirely with the gloves.

It has prompted calls from some corners to look at other wicketkeeping options for the one-off Test against Zimbabwe, which leads up to the all-important South African series later in the summer.

De Boorder fits what New Zealand coach John Wright has hinted he wants from his players. He is understood to be one of the hardest trainers in New Zealand cricket, and is a fighter when it comes to doing what he can to help get his team home.

Add to that his first-class batting record of over 40 and some youth on his side and it stacks up as a pretty compelling argument to include him in the Test team to play against Zimbabwe.

De Boorder wasn’t drawn into the talk that he was inching closer to a Test debut when he talked with The Southland Times yesterday.

Instead, like a true team man he directed the conversation back to what Otago were trying to achieve at the moment.

“I don’t really think about that at all; all I am doing is just trying to do my best for Otago,” he said.

“If you start thinking about that sort of stuff that’s when you fall over.”

If de Boorder were to make the next step in his cricket career and play for his country, it would cap off what has been a golden move to Otago after the 2005-06 season with Auckland.

Basically, the two associations did a swop, with Gareth Hopkins leaving Otago to head to Auckland and de Boorder heading south.

Since the shift de Boorder has developed into an established first-class cricketer who is now banging on the door of international selection.

“I’ve loved the move,” he said. “It’s the best move I’ve made in my cricket career. Otago have been great to me and I’m just lucky to have this opportunity.

“The culture down here is so much better than you get with other teams. Everyone doesn’t think about themselves, they look out for you and your family.”

The domestic scheduling means de Boorder doesn’t have any more four-day cricket to play in to impress the national selectors. The HRV Cup Twenty20 competition will be played right up to the Test match against Zimbabwe.