March 1, 2010

New Zealand cricket

Don’t judge a Boock by its card

Kanishkaa Balachandran

For 21 years, Stephen Boock had to live with the dubious honour of having the worst bowling figures in New Zealand first-class history, until February 28, 2010. The former left-arm spinner had his record taken away by yet another left-armer, Canterbury’s Jason Donnelly, in a Plunket Shield match against Northern Districts in Rangiora. Donnelly leaked 257 runs and took four wickets in 69 overs of toil as Northern Districts piled on 726. Boock’s experience was relatively more embarrassing, to put it mildly, as it came in a Test match, at Eden Park against Pakistan in 1989. On a pitch that was glued together, Boock sent down 70 overs, conceded 229 runs but took three wickets less than Donnelly. The main tormenters were Shoaib Mohammad and Javed Miandad, who scored 112 and 271 respectively.

After his record was taken away, Boock found time for sarcasm. "Another left-armer though, that's outstanding," Boock told the New Zealand Herald. "At least it's kept in the family." To rub it in further, the New Zealand cricket board launched a baseball card-type promotion and the write-up on the back of Boock’s card mentioned his forgettable record. "You would like to think that memories are made of more positive stuff," he said. "Mine, card No 24 I think, was the only one with a negative write-up, leading me to wonder about the intentions of the person who wrote it."

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Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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