Kiwis experiment with Twenty20
Twenty20 may not yet have a presence in New Zealand, but four Black Caps took the chance to hone their skills in cricket's latest craze in England on Tuesday. East Grinstead Sports Club's picturesque oval played host to the county side Sussex and a Lashings World XI containing Chris Cairns, Chris Harris and the Marshall twins, James and Hamish.
Only one Twenty20 match has been played in New Zealand, which was the inaugural international against Australia in February, and Harris said after that game he believed there was a place for it back home with 5pm starts. Cairns, the Man of the Match, was in fine touch, hitting a brisk 37 with two towering sixes down the ground, and delivering a tight spell that included a wicket with his third ball.
Harris was stumped cheaply after a typically scratchy start but, significantly, showed no ill-effects of the shoulder injury he suffered in December when he bowled, and rattled Sussex's Carl Hopkinson with a change of pace. Harris is not able to throw, but said he expected to be ready in two to three months. New Zealand's one-day tri-series in Zimbabwe is less than three months away.
James Marshall had some reason to feel hard done by after Hamish not only got to bat ahead of him, but had a bowl as well. James was given regular overs last season for his province Northern Districts, but it was Hamish's action at training that caused Richie Richardson, the Lashings captain, to ask why he did not get a go for New Zealand.
With his very first delivery, Hamish had Luke Wright caught at deep mid-on by James. If Hamish can develop his medium pacers it would be an asset to New Zealand with Harris and Nathan Astle in the twilight of their careers.
The Lashings XI was a mix of past and present internationals. Herschelle Gibbs and Greg Blewett were at the top of the order, VVS Laxman and Rashid Latif batted in the middle and Javagal Srinath and Vasbert Drakes took the new ball. The Lashings total of 144 was good enough for an eight-run victory and the ominous six boundaries taken by Ian Ward and Murray Goodwin off the first two overs of Sussex's chase counted for little at the end.
Andrew McLean is a presenter of The Cricket Club, New Zealand's only national radio cricket show