Jenny Roesler at the 2009 Women's World Cup March 19, 2009

NZ and Pakistan fans make some noise

  Team bonding can take many forms


Sara McGlashan comes from a sporting family, with brother Peter playing for the Blackcaps © Getty Images
 
Team bonding can take many forms. New Zealand’s players even got together to design some t-shirts for their many friends and family who have made the trip to Australia. Every player is represented in some way through brothers, sisters, parents and even – in the case of Aimee Mason, Amy Satterthwaite and Nicola Browne – grandparents.

The t-shirts are black with, in white, the emblematic fern and TEAM WHANAU blazing proudly across them. Team Whanau – meaning ‘Our team of family’ – was made up internally; with their elders, they're a more sedate version of the Barmy Army – more like Calmy Army. Of course, their support is gratefully appreciated.

The parents have arrived whenever possible with work and other commitments. One mother and father in particular have a good excuse for only arriving for the Super Sixes. Their son, Peter, has been playing for New Zealand. The McGlashans caught his debut at Wellington and his unbeaten fifty at Hamilton but have had to catch his other matches on TV. They then flew to Australia to watch allrounder Sara. They are certainly clocking up the road miles and airmiles and “surfing the television channels in between times,” says Peter, smiling.

Both brother and sister played soccer, but Sara’s choice of cricket was made for her when she was injured. Peter could see he had more of a future in cricket.

Mum is Myn and dad is Peter senior. It gets more confusing – Peter senior’s dad is also Peter senior; it’s a family tradition as the middle one explains. “It’s always been Peter senior or Peter junior, or in Pete’s case PD, because he’s Peter Donald. Whenever my wife calls me I say ‘Your mother wants you.’”

A sporting family, Myn played tennis and hockey, while this Peter is a PE teacher and his school, Napier Boys’ High – which produced Jesse Ryder and several notable rugby players – have been accommodating in giving him time off.

For their trip to England for the World Twenty20, he is managing to combine some work over there with a study award for English education. The World Twenty20 promises to be useful in combining the men and women on the same stage – and could be particularly handy for the well-travelled McGlashans should they both got the nod. Sara has more chance, realistically – Peter hasn’t played a Twenty20 since 2006. Still, this Peter can dream of the final at Lord’s. “Wouldn’t it be nice to have the Blackcaps and the White Ferns playing there on the same day?”

The Pakistan team has not been without its support – and their surprise wins have won new fans and deserved praise. Several parents have flown over, while the women have been boosted by a thick band of local, drum-beating followers, many of whom are over here to study.

The supporters have been to every Pakistan match so far – some skipping university lessons – and sing songs when their team are doing well, and even when they’re not. At the end of Pakistan’s surprise win over West Indies, the team even came up the boundary fence to be serenaded by their national anthem.

“They really appreciate it,” explains Zainub. “They’ve come up in the games and personally thanked us. We even asked them ‘does the drum annoy you?’ They say no, it pumps us up. They get little support and we’re here to make them feel they’re so important. They work really hard. The amount of training and facilities they have, it’s nothing as compared to England or Australia.”

Urooj Mumtaz’s Cricinfo blog has drawn such sentiments as “Sana Mir for president” from commenters back home and, more poignantly, “Your team is our silver lining.” Her young charges have played joyful cricket, encompassing the intended spirit of the tournament, and have even got their new fans confident that they will be up there in the next World Cup, in India in 2013. “Urooj’s name means ‘At the top’” says Zainub, before decisively adding: “She’s the captain and we say she is lifting her team to the top.”

Jenny Roesler is a former assistant editor at Cricinfo

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