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Will Young Returns As Central Stags Captain

Blackcaps batsman Will Young is stepping back up to captain the Central Stags when the team heads into its first Ford Trophy fixture this Thursday in Dunedin.

Young turns 30 today and from the age of just 22, Young led the team in all three Domestic cricket formats between 2015 and 2018 before deciding to play as a batsman only, in order to fully focus on making the Blackcaps.

Young quickly achieved that goal, and has since played 12 Test matches, eight One-Day Internationals and eight Twenty20 Internationals for New Zealand, producing two ODI centuries.

Young also captained Northamptonshire over the winter in both the first-class County championship and England’s one-day cup, and is looking forward to dusting off the armband for the Stags for the first six rounds of The Ford Trophy — after which regular white-ball captain Tom Bruce will resume the captaincy duties for the Dream11 Super Smash and remainder of the Ford Trophy campaign.

Bruce will continue to play as a batsman for the Stags in the interim.

The prolific 31-year-old has enjoyed a busy year in which he averaged an astounding 115.13 in the first-class Plunket Shield; scored his career-best T20 knock of 93 not out of just 36 balls; and lifted trophies for both the NZC Domestic men’s player of the year and Central Stags player of the year.

Taking a break from the captaincy will allow Bruce to mentally refresh himself and Young is perfectly credentialled to step in and give Bruce that opportunity. It’s something Young perfectly understands, having been there, done that.

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“It did take a load off my shoulders when I decided to give up the captaincy a few years ago,” says Young.

“Just relaxing in the field a bit more and switching off a bit more in between the games, that worked out well for me, so hopefully that will be the case for Tom, as well.

“It’s exciting for him. We’ve all loved watching Tom bat over the last year or so — and we know how deadly he can be against the white ball. A little bit of load off his shoulders might just free the shackles.”

Having captained so many matches in recent months for Northamptonshire, Young is already primed and ready to enjoy his second stint at the helm.

“We had eight rounds of the Royal London Cup and it’s very aggressive cricket over there, we had some big-scoring games, big chases.

“It’s exciting to put the green strip back on now and be heading off to Dunedin, and then back to Palmerston North for our first home match where we always get a really good crowd and I’m really looking forward to that too.”

Young is fresh off a Plunket Shield first-class century at Fitzherbert Park, and also scored a Ford Trophy century at the ground last summer, so there should be little surprise that he is looking foward to being back there on Wednesday, 30 November with all Central Stags Ford Trophy matches free admission this summer.

Ford Trophy Grand Finalists last season, the Central Stags begin their new campaign at 11am on Thursday against the Otago Volts in Dunedin.

The remainder of the squad will be announced tomorrow (Wednesday) and in round five there will be a salivating 2022 Ford Trophy Grand Final rematch with the Auckland Aces on 15 December in New Plymouth, after which a special evening event will be held at The Devon Hotel featuring Blackcaps and Stags legend Ross Taylor, comedian Ben Hurley, former Central Stag and Blackcap Jamie How and surprise special guests. Table bookings are available now at www.cdccricket.co.nz

THE FORD TROPHY schedule

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