November 8, 2002

D-Day + 3: Yock says 'Yes', India says 'Yes', players still say 'No'

Ben Yock doesn't see himself as a hero or martyr after his decision to quit the New Zealand Cricket Players' Association and sign with Canterbury.

Yock said he was taking a stand for the younger players who were not members of the Players' Association and who had been caught up in the controversy and were being bullied into not signing for Canterbury.

Yock said he stated earlier in the week that he was considering pulling out of the Players' Association and had had a perfectly reasonable phone call from Players' Association spokesman Heath Mills.

But it was when he got a phone call from a young player, "a fairly good young player", who was nearly in tears over the treatment he had been receiving by two players who Yock had previously had the utmost respect for, that he decided to sign with Canterbury.

"At the very start of the Players' Association activity I was not keen on signing. But it was the trendy thing to do, everyone else was doing it.

"I didn't think it would come to this," he said of the impasse that saw New Zealand Cricket (NZC) break off negotiations with the Players' Association.

Yock said he didn't go to any of the Players' Association meetings and when, at a club practice, five players were involved in what he described as "cloak and dagger"-like discussion and hadn't bothered to involve him, that he started to go off the idea of the Association.

Yock said that he thought the deal that was offered last week by NZC was fair enough.

But when the State Max and the Provincial A tournaments were dropped by NZC, they were the areas that he had to perform in if he was to be considered for Canterbury.

At 27 he said he had only a couple of more years in which to try and claim a place.

"You are a long time on the couch," he said.

"Any game for Canterbury is better than no game," he said of the pre-season matches against Otago to be played at Rangiora's Dudley Park starting on Sunday.

The players were looking forward to the matches and there were some exciting young players who were going to be involved.

If the players' strike continued into the domestic season, Yock said it would be the same for all the associations.

"But there are some very talented young guys in this squad," he said.

Yock re-affirmed that he had no regrets in his action, and that it hadn't been a difficult decision.

"At least I can lie straight in bed," he said.

Agence France-Presse reports that Indian cricket boss Jagmohan Dalmiya said India will tour here despite the players' dispute.

"As far as the Indian cricket board is concerned, our team will certainly tour New Zealand," he said.

"What is happening in New Zealand is an internal matter between their players and cricket authorites. We'll be happy to play against any team fielded by the hosts," he added.

Meanwhile, rumours persist that Players' Association advocates Rob Nichol and Heath Mills were involved in discussions with New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming in Wellington last evening.

And star all-rounder Chris Cairns, who has been filling in his spare time with a book promotion tour of the country, said he had full confidence that the Players' Association and NZC would reach agreement "in the short term."