Jacob Oram June 19, 2012

'I didn't grow up wanting to play cricket'

Jacob Oram on not having any cricket heroes, and which Chris Martin he'd rather bat with

As an allrounder what's more satisfying for you: hitting a good bowler for six or knocking back the stumps of a good batsman?
Hitting a good bowler for six.

In an ODI in Perth in 2007, you gave away 50 runs in five overs without taking a wicket and then scored 101 not out off 72 balls that included six sixes. What was that all about?
I had to make up for the bowling somehow! That's the beauty of being an allrounder. You've got the safety net of a second skill to pick you up in the second innings.

Has there ever been a bowler who has been able to bowl a bouncer that sailed over your head?
Sure. I've been hit on the head a few times. If someone is quick enough and the pitch is good enough, it can happen. It still has to be very short, but they can get it up.

Who do you remember hitting you on the head?
I've been hit in the head by James Anderson and Stuart Broad - tall guys who have a bit of pace.

You've had a number of injuries playing cricket, but what was the first significant one?
My first major injury was a broken foot when I started bowling. I had a pulled muscle here and there when I played solely as a batsman, but when I took up bowling, I had a broken metatarsal that kept me out of the game for three or four months.

If someone had to bat for your life and the choice was between your Black Caps team-mate Chris Martin or Chris Martin from Coldplay, who would you pick?
Chris Martin from New Zealand. I've been in many a partnership with him. In 2004 in Brisbane, he saw me over the line for a hundred. He may not be able to get too many off his own bat, but I've been in a few partnerships with him which have been crucial for us.

Who was your first Kiwi cricket hero?
I didn't really have one. I actually didn't grow up wanting to play cricket - it just kind of happened. I never went out autograph-hunting or role-playing - any of that sort of stuff. I wish I did have a cricket hero growing up because I can never answer this question properly!

Richard Hadlee or Martin Crowe?
I'm going to say Richard Hadlee. He was New Zealand's first and probably still biggest superstar. Being an allrounder, I appreciate what he was able to achieve.

And from those other Kiwi icons: Bret or Jemaine?
From Flight of the Conchords? This will sound bad, but I don't know which is which. I do know the programme, and I have watched it… No, wait, I do know, actually. Is Bret the one that did the Kermit the Frog song ["Man or Muppet"] that won the Oscar? Let's go with him.

What was your first serious cricket bat?
The first proper one I can remember was a Symonds Super Tusker.

When did you realise you could possibly have a career in cricket?
I remember an Under-16 tournament before I was bowling. I was just batting back then. I was about 14 or 15 and had strung together a few good innings. I got a couple of hundreds and some 60s or 80s and thought that maybe I had something to offer and cricket was definitely an option for the future.

What's the most satisfying wicket that you've taken?
My first Test wicket. It was Sachin Tendulkar. Obviously he's one of the greats and so that was a very special first wicket.

What do you consider your best day's cricket?
My hundred at Lord's in 2008, where we were able to save the match. From a semi-winning position we did a good old Black Caps thing and got ourselves into a losing position. On the last day we managed to fight our way out of it. We didn't win, but we managed to get out of trouble and at the same time I got a hundred at Lord's, so that was cool.

What's one thing about you that cricket fans generally don't know and might be surprised to learn?
I'd probably rather be at home with my son, my family and my dog right now than touring the world playing cricket.

Faraz Sarwat is the cricket columnist for the Toronto Star and the author of The Cricket World Cup: History, Highlights, Facts and Figures

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