It's a dream scenario for any coach ... or it can be a nightmare in a heartbeat, if you ask Lincoln Doull.
The Pay Excellence Hawke's Bay senior men's representative cricket team coach has three Black Caps squad members to play with when he tinkers with his line up for the annual Chapple Cup tournament starting tomorrow in Napier.
They are allrounder Doug Bracewell (Taradale Cricket Club), wicketkeeper/batsman Kruger van Wyk (Ruahine Motors Central Hawke's Bay) and Tarun Nethula (Heretaunga Building Society Cornwall Cricket Club) who will fit into Doull's matrix over the three-day tourney.
"It's a delight and a nightmare at the same time," the PE teacher at Hereworth School said yesterday as he massages the combinations with myriad talent including a swag of Devon Hotel Central Districts Stags squad members.
With rookie skipper Jacob Smith, the Bay outfit will have the services of CD representatives Kieran Noema-Barnett (CD captain), Mathew Sinclair, Carl Cachopa, Stevie Smidt, Jeet Raval and Ajaz Patel.
While Doull could not be reached to confirm it, former Northern Districts fast bowler Andrew Mathieson is also in the CD squad and is likely to get a run.
"I think my problem is one every provincial coach in the CD region would like to have," Doull, a former Wellington first-class player, said before they play Wanganui first up in the knockout tourney with the final on Monday.
"I suppose we could put out a side that would be comparable at first-class level."
The Bay's biggest challenge will come from Manawatu who boast Roald Badenhorst, Black Cap Adam Milne, ex-Black Cap Jamie How, Bevan Small and Dane Cleaver.
Stags Ben Smith (Wanganui), Ben Wheeler (Marlborough), Marty Kain (Nelson), Dean Robinson and NZ U19 captain William Young (both Taranaki) will play for their provinces, too, as CD coach Alan Hunt and his co-selectors will be on the sidelines to nut out their combinations for the four-day Plunket Shield competition.
The Stags host the Wellington Firebirds at Nelson Park in the shield opener on October 28.
Add to the Chapple Cup mix the input of retired CD record-holding ex-Black Cap batsman Peter Ingram (Taranaki) and ex-New Zealand seamer Michael Mason (Manawatu) and the prospect of a mouth-watering final should be on the card for the Bay fans, barring the odd upset.
Smidt is nursing a back injury so Doull has opted to put him on hold but mindful he can put him back into the equation if his condition improves in the next couple of days.
"He's playing premier club cricket as a batsman only although he may feel like rolling his arm just to see how it feels," he said as round two of the premier men's club English-style 120-over games will be played today with the four-day public holiday in the Bay.
What makes matters tricky for Doull is injecting a full-strength team every game but not wanting to deprive his young charges of valuable game time, considering the Stags leave behind a vacuum to fill when they depart for their first-class campaign.
The homegrown talent from the Bay include allrounder Angus Schaw (CHB), batsman Michael Taiaroa (Cornwall), pace bowler Ben Jackett (Cornwall), batsman Toby Doyle (Taradale) and wicketkeeper Seb Langridge (Cornwall).
Doull said it was a good opportunity for Langridge to show his wares in front of CD selectors.
Bracewell, who was picking up silverware last night at the annual New Zealand Cricket awards in Auckland, is likely to take the new ball with Jackett tomorrow.
Taradale's Patel and Schaw are the spin options.
"Ajaz bowled well in the twenty/20 tournament a fortnight ago. He slides the ball nicely and doesn't spearhead the ball but gives it good flight so he has a good chance of playing for CD depending on how Tarun goes with New Zealand Cricket this summer," Doull said, after Black Caps coach Mike Hesson reportedly claimed Nethula had had the "yips" while on the Indian tour just before the T20 World Cup in Sri Lanka.
Hesson said Nethula would return to CD to rebuild his confidence, missing out on the Sri Lankan tour next month.
"Tarun will be an option to play for us on Monday," Doull said.
He was excited by the prospect of using teenage left-armer Jackett but emphasised there was no player in the Bay squad unskilled in wielding the willow.
"No one can't bat. Jackett, if he can apply himself, can be in the 6 or 7 order and Ajaz last Saturday showed for Taradale he can do that, too, with 30-odd not out."
On November 4, the Bay will have their Kirk Cup defence against Poverty Bay at Cornwall Park, Hastings.
A rash of Hawke Cup (2-day) elimination matches will follow at home as they host Horowhenua-Kapiti on November 10-11, Wanganui on December 1-2 and Wairarapa on December 15-16.
They travel to Palmerston North to play Manawatu on January 12-13 and then to New Plymouth on January 26-27 to lock horns against Taranaki before the zone 2 Hawke Cup challenge on February 8-10 at a venue to be decided.
A window in the CD schedule will make Stags available to the Bay but Hunt may decide to rest players who have a hectic workload or are carrying niggly injuries.