'Would have liked to seen Jimmy bat a bit longer' - Black Caps coach impressed with Neesham in Plunket Shield opener

He's used to rocking up at the Basin Reserve for the domestic cricket season, but things were different for Gary Stead this time around as Black Caps coach.

The 46-year-old arrived was in the capital to watch the Plunket Shield opener between Wellington Firebird and Auckland Aces on the first day of the season.

"I arrived down here at the Basin this morning, and to not be out there helping with warm-ups and things like that was a wee bit different," said Stead.

"It's been really hard-fought out there.

"We've seen a little bit of rustiness I think from both teams," he said.

"There's been a wee bit in it for the bowlers all day, and there's been some nice innings without quite kicking on for bigger ones."

Stead was perhaps alluding to the innings of in-form all-rounder Jimmy Neesham, who picked up where he left off in the pre-season with his first fifty of the campaign.

But he was out shortly after reaching the milestone.

"Would have liked to seen Jimmy bat a bit longer, and I'm sure he would as well."

Stead also confirmed that injured Black Cap Mitchell Santner is expected to be back playing first-class cricket before the end of the year.

"He's had a significant knee operation, and likely that he will be back at first class level somewhere around mid-December (…) but he's tracking really well at the moment."

Stead was in the capital watching the Firebirds host the Auckland Aces on the first day of the season. Source: 1 NEWS

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