Bob Cunis 1941-2008 August 9, 2008

Former New Zealand bowler Bob Cunis dies aged 67

Cricinfo staff


Besides playing for and coaching New Zealand at cricket, Bob Cunis was a handy three-quarter at rugby © Getty Images
 

Bob Cunis, the former New Zealand medium-pacer, has died aged 67 at his house in Northland. Cunis played 20 Tests between 1964 and 1972, taking 51 wickets at the average of 37, including one five-wicket haul, and was also a useful lower-order batsman. He went on to coach New Zealand between 1987 and 1990.

One of the highlights of Cunis' international career was his battling 96-run association with Mark Burgess for the ninth wicket in the second innings against Pakistan in the third Test in Dhaka in 1969. The partnership helped New Zealand save the match and sealed their first series win on foreign soil.

He was good enough to earn a place in the World XI side, containing the likes of Garry Sobers, Clive Lloyd, Sunil Gavaskar, and Zaheer Abbas, which toured Australia in 1971-72, but was plagued by knee injuries throughout his career.

Cunis, who had an unorthodox action which made it seem like he was bowling off the wrong foot, had a 16-year first-class career with Auckland and Northern Districts from 1960-61 to 1976-77. In 132 first-class matches, he took 386 wickets at 26.65, including 18 five-fors and two ten-wicket hauls. His best season was with Auckland in 1968-69, when he took 30 wickets at the astonishing average of 12.6 to take them to victory in the Plunket Shield.

John Arlott, the famous BBC commentator and journalist, once described Cunis as being "neither one thing or another".

He was also a handy rugby three-quarter. His son Stephen was also a first-class cricketer and played for Canterbury between 1999 and 2005.