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Australian Twenty20 specialist Brad Hodge is one of the new names amongst three changes in the Auckland Aces side to play their first HRV Cup game of the season this Friday night in Wellington.
The two other players to come into the twelve named for Friday's game are pace bowler Lockie Ferguson and middle order batsman Dusan Hakaraia.
Hodge will make the briefest of appearances for the Aces as he flies in and out for just this first round game.
Aces coach Paul Strang is looking forward to having the quality of Hodge available and is hoping that the recent diet of Twenty20 cricket the Aces had at the Champions League will stand them in good stead. "Switching back and forth between the formats is part and parcel of professional cricket these days but I think the fact that we've recently been in the mindset of what we want to do in T20 will allow us to get back into the right patterns very quickly."
The Aces take on the Firebirds at 7pm this Friday in Westpac Stadium after which they head into a 10 day break before their next Plunket Shield game against the same opponents back at Eden Park starting 26 November. In the interim a two day game between an Adams XI and Horne XI will be played 20-21 Nov at Lloyd Elsmore Park that will involve both Aces contracted players and wider squad members.
The twelve from which a side will be chosen for Friday's game is as follows:
Gareth Hopkins (Captain)
Colin de Grandhomme