James Nixon | 12:18am gmt 20 Jan 2009
We at Cricket Web are both proud and excited in welcoming Mathew Sinclair. Mathew will be regularly contributing blog pieces for Cricket Web readers to enjoy. His years of experience and ongoing participation in both international and New Zealand domestic cricket will no doubt provide valuable insight to the world of professional cricket at all levels and his first-hand knowledge of players and cricket issues will allow him to give us all a very informed opinion.
Mention the name Mathew Sinclair to a New Zealand cricket fan and you could receive any one of a number of possible reactions. Some will immediately think of the champion Test innings he played early in his career: his two Test double centuries will more than likely be his legacy to the game, but his brilliant innings of 150 against a highly rated South African attack on a first innings pitch where no other New Zealand batsman scored more than 39, however, is rated the best innings of the three and is in fact arguably the best innings a New Zealand batsman has played this century. Others may think of his unparalleled performances for Central Districts, for whom he has a remarkable 5945 runs to date at an average of almost 52. Some may even cast their minds to the boundary catch he took in Brisbane to dismiss Matthew Hayden which rivals the best in the history of one day international cricket.
Many thought his international career was over after he failed to make the tour of England and it was even hinted he might head overseas. To his credit though, he chose to persist with the Stags and take on the challenge of captaining the team. He has relished it with Bradmanesque figures - averaging over a hundred in both forms - which has just days ago led to his ODI recall. His selection or indeed lack of consistent selection over the years has never failed to spark controversy but whatever your views, Skippy has certainly had an interesting career and will provide a unique perspective for Cricket Web readers in his blog entries.
1) What's your favourite cricketing moment?
It would have to definitely be my Test New Zealand International debut against the West Indies where I scored 214 and we ended up winning the Test series against them. Lara, Chanderpaul, Walsh and coached by one of the most destructive batsman in the world, being of course Sir Vivian Richards. I had suddenly been no one to someone, a very special day that can't be taken away from me.
2) Who are some young players on the domestic scene to look out for?
Kane Williamson (NZ U19 Captain and Top Order Batter), Trent Boult (Left Arm Opening Fast Bowler and also an NZ U19 Player). Both are currently playing for Northern Districts.
George Worker(Left Hand Top Order Batter and Spin Bowler) and Doug Bracewell(Right Hand Batter and fast Bowler and also the nephew of former black cap coach John Bracewell), both currently playing for Central Districts and both have represented NZ U19 level.
3) What's your preferred format of cricket, whether 20/20, First Class or List A?
As a professional cricket player I enjoy playing all formats of cricket.
4) What do you enjoy doing outside of cricket?
Love to Fish, Hunt and play Golf, and of course spending time with my wife how could I forget her.
5) How does the involvement and level of a coach change the further you get up a cricketing ladder, say from club level to state level to international level?
I have been lucky enough to be alongside some fantastic coaches and some that haven't motivated me as well as others. As you progress up the cricketing hierarchy many coaches will try to get you to do this and that. I encourage cricketers that I coach to take one thing that I have said and have a go at it, otherwise too much information just clutters up your mind and we want to keep this game as simple as possible. Having been lucky enough to go and play for my country the need for a coach becomes a different role and a role of becoming a people organizer, you have specialist coaches that are all there to make you be right mentally and physically and ready for the game. The youngsters I have currently for the Stags I totally encourage them to release their full potential without thinking of the negative consequences, I believe in encouragement rather than intimidation.
6) Who is the best Test side at the moment. Australia, India or South Africa?
The Australians are still the best Team in the world, as a cricketer you want to perform against these guys and test your skills against the best.
7) How do you feel about the cricketing media? Do you feel there has been a sensationalist trend in recent times?
At the best of times it is hard not to be under the media microscope throughout ones cricketing career. I believe the media is for public consumption and not for cricketer's consumption. Over the course of my career I have been exposed to quite a bit of media slang, some good, and some that words can't describe my frustration. Experience now has taken my thought processes away from that exposure and I must admit has impacted sometimes on that added pressure for me to perform. We have a policy in the Stags that there are no newspapers in our dressing room so that no one can get distracted or upset.
8) Do you think the one-day game has a future or has its time come?
With the impact of 20/20 cricket at such a huge global attraction rate, I have seen the numbers at one day games greatly affected. Cricket has now become a business and people's social time is so much more precious. Test match cricket will always be there as it is the one true test in cricket and survived the packer era. I think as shown with the power plays the ICC will keep looking at finding new ways to keep the fans entertained.
9) Who is the best bowler you have ever faced?
Muttiah Muralitharan, a master in the art of spin bowling whether you are picking his doosra this guy can turn it on glass.
10) Who were your cricketing heroes as a child?
Sir Vivian Richards, master blaster with the bat and a no fear attitude, attributes I aspire too.
Steve Waugh, when the going gets tough a guy that would at the best of times stand up and be accounted for and always give it his best.
11) Do you feel enough is done to support cricketers after they finish playing cricket?
When I first started playing no one had even contemplated life after cricket and we were left to sort it out ourselves. New Zealand Cricket has now a very strong relationship with the Players Association and they work very closely with all first class players in career personal development.
12) Are you frustrated by the way cricket sometimes has to play second fiddle to Rugby in New Zealand?
No, because Rugby is our national sport and always will be, cricket is our number one summer sport. What is frustrating is playing cricket on rugby grounds as here in New Zealand we don't have enough specialist cricket grounds. The only current grounds that are stand alone cricket grounds being The Basin Reserve in Wellington and Pukekeura Park in New Plymouth.