First international game I watched live
The first live cricketing moment of an international was back in 1999 in Napier. I was part of the Central Districts team that had played in the afternoon at the ground in an Under-17 National championship. I went to the ground later to watch the day-nighter between New Zealand and West Indies. We chased the West indies target of 160 with six down. It was a good experience. The striking thing was how fast some of the bowlers were and I wondered if I could ever face anyone that quick. As it turns out I have faced a lot quicker than that.
First autograph I took
My first autograph of a cricketer was of Mark Greatbatch. He was playing for Central Districts, my state, and he was a good player who I liked to watch as a kid. He came from the same area as me - Masterton. I was about seven then and I approached him nervously with a poster, which he signed.
First expensive dropped catch
Matthew Hayden was my first costly dropped catch in the field. It was during the 2006-07 CB Series, at the WACA. Daniel [Vettori] had dropped Hayden on a duck, and then when he was on 11 he hit it in the air and I ran back but couldn't get a hand to it. He went on to get 117. I should've caught it
First cricketing heroes
Martin Crowe and Greatbatch were my first heroes. Both of them became instant hits after the 1992 World Cup where Crowe was one of the top run-getters and Greatbatch hit the most sixes. Those were highlights for me and inspired me to become a Black Cap.
First international I played in
I was very nervous the whole night before and the whole morning of my debut international. It was again at Napier, where I watched my first game, that I played my first game. It took 43 overs before I got out in the middle as Fleming, Astle and Vincent got a lot of runs. But it was a good feeling, walking out. There was a big roar from my home crowd. I was lucky not to get a golden duck.
As told to Nagraj Gollapudi