The Start of Another Season

Hamilton designer, Helen Neilsen, created a bra using parts from our Batting gloves, that will be auctioned off to raise money for the cause.

Back on the horse… Well, almost.

Normally by the middle of November the weather would be warming up, I would have brushed the cobwebs off my cricket gear and would have a first class game under my belt, another season underway.

The weather is warming up, enough to be swimming at home in the evenings.

The cobwebs have gone, a few weeks club cricket with Waiuku in the Counties Manukau competition put pay to them.

And as for the opening first class game? Well, club cricket for Waiuku put pay to that too. A fractured finger meaning all the hard work pre-season put on hold while the rest of the lads headed south, down to Queenstown, for the season opener.

It has been a turbulent time in New Zealand for cricket with the national team historically going down to Bangladesh for the first time and the media demanding answers from the management and players as to how they were going to make amends. The time off due to my injury has allowed me time to watch the current series in India and some of the fighting qualities the team spoke of before leaving, have been evident.

Many wrote the team off before they left but it has been encouraging, particularly as a Northern Knight, to see the talent of Kane Williamson shine through as an example of how hard work will be rewarded. The kid, (he still seems like a kid!) has been playing for ND for years and every season turns up with something new he’s discovered over the winter that takes his game to the next level.

A few of us have been fortunate enough to spend some time working with one of NZ’s finest batsmen, Martin Crowe, this winter. His simple approach has provided clarity and made my game more instinctive. We will have to see if it helps when I take the field in the coming weeks, but I can see it has already added to Kane’s immeasurable hunger to score runs.

It’s been strange sitting out the start of the season, a foreign concept, as all my injuries in the past have been mid summer or in the final few games. I guess this is what retirement feels like, Saturday afternoons spent doing normal things like gardening, picnics in the park and going to the beach.

While most kiwis enjoy heading to the beach for their summer holidays, cricketers don’t have the pleasure.

Traditionally, kiwis hit the beaches over the Xmas New Year period, their main holiday period, but this year the HRV Cup, NZ’s domestic T20 tournament, runs from the start of December. It will be interesting to see if the crowds still turn out, considering the distractions of Xmas shopping, work parties and family commitments.

Hopefully, fans find the HRV Cup a welcome distraction from Xmas stresses and come along in droves to watch some great cricket and exciting players. At the Knights, our three overseas players, have already caused a stir with the batting trio a dynamic group of explosive batsman.

Brad Hodge, has had tremendous success with Victoria, Kolkata Knightriders and several counties in England. With over 100 T20 games and more than 17000 first class runs his experience will be invaluable and a real boost to the batting unit.

Dave Warner, fresh off his victory for Australia at the Hong Kong sixes, will bring some power to the top of the order. He doesn’t muck around, with an international strike rate of 149, and will add to our growing list of players who are willing to pull out a reverse sweep or two.

Finally, Herschelle Gibbs, an amazing talent, who has carried on Jonty Rhodes legacy as one of the best fielders in the world, will hopefully help get the Knights the only trophy that has eluded us to date. Gibbs firepower is legendary, no better example than his involvement in the world’s greatest one day run chase, scoring 175 off 111 deliveries vs Australia back in 2006.

The Knights will be in pink again, raising awareness of the NZ Breast Cancer Foundations battle with Breast Cancer. This summer myself and a few of the Aero sponsored donated our batting gloves to ‘support’ a great initiative to again capture the publics imagination. Hamilton designer, Helen Neilsen, created a bra using parts from our Batting gloves, that will be auctioned off to raise money for the cause.

It is a great idea and one many organisations and individuals have completed creating many works of art all with a focus on supporting Breast Cancer awareness.

More details can be found here.

So with the HRV Cup only weeks away I had best be heading off to get another run in. It won’t be long until I’ll be facing up to Brett Lee and Shaun Tait for Wellington and Canterbury respectively.

Fingers crossed that my finger is ready for battle…

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