The Auckland Aces have announced a 14 man squad for the HRV Cup which kicks off this Sunday against the Wellington Firebirds.
Blackcaps Martin Guptill and Chris Martin come back into the frame after their heroics in Hobart, with the other two new faces being Pakistani all-rounder Azhar Mahmood and top order batsman Dusan Hakaraia.
Mahmood stepped off the plane on Tuesday and arrives on the back of a very successful Twenty20 season with Kent where he scored almost 500 runs and averaged over 40.
Hakaraia was a member of the Aces successful HRV Cup winning team last year and brings a stroke-making batting style and some outstanding fielding ability to the mix.
A last round loss to Canterbury in the Ford Trophy is not the ideal lead-in to the first round of Twenty20 but coach Paul Strang is content with how his side is shaping up.
Paul Strang said, "We've got a very settled side with a good deal of experience, and importantly experience in how to win this competition. I think all our batsmen have had a good knock in the one day stuff and that should transfer well into Twenty20. We'll obviously be looking to take our whole game up a few notches for the HRV Cup to replicate the kind of form we had going last year, so we're looking forward to Sunday."
The squad of fourteen announced for the HRV Cup, and for this Sunday's game starting 2pm at Colin Maiden Park is as follows:
Gareth Hopkins (c)
Colin de Grandhomme
Contacts: Paul Strang +64 21 840 877