Allott is cashing in on his fortune (13 June 1999)

13 June 1999

Allott is cashing in on his fortune

Sir Richard Hadlee

Geoff Allott, without doubt, has been the success story of the World Cup for New Zealand. From a position where he was far from certain of selection for the squad, the left-arm bowler has transformed his fortunes to the point where he has become the leading wicket-taker in a single World Cup.

Even Allott cannot quite believe what has happened to him. But he deserves his good fortune because he was brave enough to take a huge gamble when a career full of promise appeared likely to fizzle out because of injury and technical problems.

Allott gave up a good job in a Christchurch bank last year to concentrate on his cricket when his back and hip problems had allowed rival left-arm pace bowler Shane O'Connor the opportunity to usurp him in the New Zealand side. He spent time at the New Zealand academy with my brother, Dayle, and other experts, completely remodelling his action so that he was less chest-on and put less pressure on his back.

With a more side-on action has come the key to Allott becoming a genuine international performer who can now look forward to the Test series against England as New Zealand's spearhead ahead of Simon Doull.

Allott can now bowl regular in-swing to right handers, the key to a left-armer taking the step up from good to very good performer. This has enabled him to gain more lbws and keeps the batsman guessing. Delivered at lively pace - the speed gun during the Zimbabwe match last week had one delivery registered at 91mph - and you can see why Allott has, at the moment, taken more wickets than the more established bowlers.

So rapid has been his improvement that two county executives have intimated to me that Allott could virtually name his price to play in the English championship next season. From what I gather, the man who also this year registered the longest Test duck in history will be keen to take one of them up.

It is all about opportunity. If Allott had been left out of the World Cup party, as was distinctly possible, he would have had an uncertain future. Now he can look forward to the rest of the summer with relish.

Whatever happens in the semi-finals, this World Cup will be great preparation for the four-Test series to come. New Zealand have only won two Tests in England - at Headingley in 1983 and to win the series at Trent Bridge in 1986 - but the aim must be to improve on that when England are encountered, starting on July 1. The players, with a World Cup campaign behind them, should be looking to add to those two victories before the summer is out.

Source :: The Electronic Telegraph