September 18, 2001

Academy players to be surrounded by history

New Zealand Cricket doesn't have an official hall of fame but chances are that its pavilion at the Bert Sutcliffe Oval is heading that way.

The Oval and the pavilion, built in time for the staging of the CricInfo Women's World Cup last summer, are the public face of the High Performance Centre based at Lincoln University.

In order to recognise the extensive role the HPC's Cricket Academy is playing in the development of New Zealand's emerging generation of international cricketers, the pavilion, in keeping with the naming of the ground after the legendary Bert Sutcliffe, is being decorated as a shrine to the history of the game in this country.

Cricket historian and life member of NZC Don Neely is working on the content that will line the walls before the Under-19 World Cup is staged at the complex in January-February next year.

Neely was not new to the complex but like several of the delegates from around the country he took part in a tour after last Friday's annual general meeting of NZC and also heard a presentation by Academy Director Dayle Hadlee on the workings of the Academy.

"The programme appears very well worked out. It covers such a multitude of things now that they've worked it all through.

"Young men can go into the academy and mature cricketers come out," he said.

"The thing that strikes you about the grounds immediately is that they are all flat. There are very few cricket grounds where you can say that. There are also great wickets on each of the grounds.

"The Sutcliffe Oval just looks so good and the look is getting back to what the paintings were like of old cricket matches.

"It is a stunning little treasure. Each of the three grounds in the complex has a boundary bigger than the Basin Reserve," he said.

In keeping with the work that he has already done with The Cricket Museum, and the Norwood Room, at the Basin Reserve, Neely is looking to capture the history of New Zealand cricket and the role of the Academy in his work at the new pavilion.

A feature of the dressing rooms will be a living Academy honours board. While photographs of each of the Academy intakes will be displayed, so too will individual photographs of Academy graduates who have achieved international status with details of their achievement and year of graduation listed in a caption.

Rather than framed glass photographs being used, a plasticised technique will be used.

"Players of the future will realise from some of those details just how quickly some players advanced to international class," Neely said.

Action shots of New Zealand Cricket legends are already scattered around the pavilion but more attention will be paid to these.

While New Zealand's Test-winning captains, and their successful matches, will be featured on the walls of the stairway leading to the upper level with more significant presentations on the walls of the viewing area upstairs.

"The Academy players will be surrounded by history whenever they are in the pavilion," Neely said.

Meanwhile, Dayle Hadlee said the tours organised on Friday for out of town delegates to the annual meeting had been well received.

"There were some pretty positive responses, especially among those who had never seen it before.

"I think some were a little flabbergasted with what we do as they were not aware of the depth of the programme.

"There seemed to be a general concurrence of opinion that the facilities were superb," he said.