September 25, 2013

Ten things you need to know about Otago Volts

It's not all BB Mac, you know. They also have a doppelganger, a mattress, a chameleon, and a bearded trainer

Brendon McCullum: KKR's loss is Otago's gain © BCCI

Nobody calls them Otago Volts
It's just Otago - even ESPNcricinfo has acknowledged this in the tournament schedule. The electrically charged moniker is just a whiz-bang name that emerged when the marketing people got their hands on the NZ domestic one-day competition and zhuzhed it up back in the early noughties, when the State Shield emerged from the ashes of the Shell Cup. For the record, neither competition name was as good as the domestic competition's original name: The New Zealand Motor Corporation Knock-Out.

They have a doppelganger in their midst
Check out Sam Wells doing his Daniel Vettori impression last week here. Magnificent! Perhaps this is the beginning of an alternate career, a one-man Vettori tribute show. He just needs to undergo a metamorphosis and transform his right-arm seam into left-arm spin and ugly up his batting.

Otago supporters hate Kolkata Knight Riders
Every Otago supporter was stoked when KKR tanked in the 2013 edition of the Indian Premier League and failed to qualify for the Champions League. Why? Because it meant the Otago talisman, Brendon McCullum, could don the Otago colours. Any team with BB McCullum in it is a much more frightening proposition - not only for his brutal batting and aggressive captaincy but also for the halo effect on his team-mates.

Bad weather, no problem
Otago cricketers are from Otago and Southland which means they are both resilient and used to the weather buggering up their cricketing days out. To give you an idea, it rains in Dunedin once every three days and rarely breaches the 20 degrees Celsius mark.

Ryan ten Doeschate, cricket chameleon? Present
The South African-born Dutchman globetrots and plays for ten teams per annum. He's a wonderful addition to the Otago squad, making the cut after his Essex team went the way of KKR in the English county competitions. "Tendo" is like a stick insect in whatever team he fronts for: he chooses his colour then becomes a basher, a nurdler, or a skiddy paceman, depending on what the conditions dictate. Only Jesse Ryder scored more runs - shedloads more - in the NZ domestic T20 competition last season. Importantly too, ten Doeschate has been playing with Hamish Rutherford. Most memorably they smoked 230 runs from about 20 overs back in June for Essex.

Beige Brigade favourite Nathan McCullum's nickname is "mattress". And no one knows why.

On a roll
Otago have not lost a T20 match since Northern Districts tipped them up in November 2012 (thanks to a 116-run partnership between Poms Steven Croft and James Foster). Otago have racked up an impressive 13 wins and a rain-out along the way. Momentum is a wonderful thing in T20 cricket.

The sons of
Son of Rodney, Aaron Redmond, is in the squad as an old hand. So too is the son of Ken, woodchopper opening bat Hamish Rutherford. There's a Bracewell in there too, sticky-fingered Michael - son of former Otago player and current "network coach" Mark Bracewell.

Off the radar
At home in New Zealand, the Champions League Twenty20 is screening but the sporting news is being dominated by nail-biting patriotism as the America's Cup yachting floats to a crescendo (and rugby is in the news of course, but that is incessant). Being out of the spotlight, miles away, and playing cricket at times when most people are dribbling into their pillow has meant there is very little pressure being generated from our shores.

A bearded trainer
Everyone needs a good beard on their side and Adam Keen, the Otago trainer, ticks that box in a powerful follicle way. Along with former New Zealand sprinter Chris Donaldson, he has the Otago lads in great shape despite the last days of the domestic cricket season being many moons behind the squad.

Paul Ford is a co-founder of the Beige Brigade. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on September 30, 2013, 7:52 GMT

    nice articke.. best fact about sam wellsl... :p

  • Dummy4 on September 26, 2013, 10:41 GMT

    lol quite funny except about the rain. Dunedin is one of the driest cities in the country.

  • Dummy4 on September 26, 2013, 10:20 GMT

    I laugh when i remember that mccullum was excluded for almost every game by kkr in ipl.....that mistake came up with the elimination of kkr from final four....i hope kkr selectors show maturity next year....

  • Dummy4 on September 26, 2013, 9:55 GMT

    Did you do any research into this? Most of Otago is the hottest part of country, especially central Otago that reaches 40 degrees consistently and is covered in vineyards.

    How do you forget the Mccullum brothers and Stu, not to mention James McMillan being the cousin of Craig

  • Garry on September 26, 2013, 6:28 GMT

    "the son of.." how could you exclude Stu McCullum the father of Brendon and Nathan . Also Jesse Ryder is joining this team next season, look out!

  • Jono on September 26, 2013, 4:46 GMT

    I thought his nick-name was Mad-Eye because the look he gives in his delivery stride

  • Andy on September 26, 2013, 4:32 GMT

    bit harsh on the weather, can actually get over 30 in the summer, especially the taieri plains where the airport is, and its actually one of the driest main centres in New Zealand. do a bit of research aye

  • Dummy4 on September 26, 2013, 1:17 GMT

    Good to get coverage and for the most part it was a good article, a few points though.

    Everybody IN Otago calls them the Volts, especially in the T20 format. Otago would be how I referred to Plunket Shield team.

    Nathan's nickname isn't mattress it's Matt-I which is short for mattress, and as James alluded to it's because it was thought he needed to harden up.

  • Dummy4 on September 25, 2013, 13:39 GMT

    According to rumour, Nathan's nickname came from the fact that his brother thought he needed to "harden up", and told the team that he was "soft as a mattress". One fact you didn't mention is that Matt-I is also a fine soccer player, having been star striker for Caversham FC for several years. Footy's loss is the Black Caps' gain...

  • jim on September 25, 2013, 10:55 GMT

    lLoved this article.More about kiwi domestic cricket please.Glad to hear in NZ as well as England noone refers to any team by their 21st century monicker.Im Hampshire and i can never remember what we are this year.Could be an age thing.

  • No featured comments at the moment.