January 5, 2001

Christmas away from Zimbabwe

Well I guess that I should start with Happy New Year to everyone and hope you all had a very good Christmas and an even better New Year's party. While most of you have been indulging yourselves in the spirit of the festive season and probably a few mince pies as well some of us have been getting down to some serious work. As you probably gathered from my last report, we started our tour of New Zealand in Christchurch where we played our warm-up games. What transpired was far from what we hoped for as myself, Streak and Carlisle could not play a 3 day game because of illness - some mystery bug we must have picked up in India - then we bowled and batted like invalids, and during the bowling part Grant Flower and Dirk Viljoen broke their fingers.

Things were not looking good as you can imagine, nevertheless we boarded the plane for the windy city of Wellington and the Boxing Day Test match. The wives and girl-friends arrived that evening, which was great because we had been away for the best part of two months.My two children are also here, so although they arrived at around midnight, there was great excitement as to the arrival of Father Christmas and for my wife and I, the unenviable task of waiting till they were asleep until we could pack the stockings.

We had a practice on Christmas morning and got together later for a very subdued but very nice Christmas lunch with Bryan Strang starring as Father Christmas.

The Boxing Day Test match was played on a featherbed of a wicket, amidst the windiest conditions I have ever experienced. The weather people reckon that the winds got up to 80 kilometres an hour. There was also some rain and despite a token effort by both captains to contrive a result on the last day it petered out into a tame draw.

We then were into the one day series - the first one a day night in Taupo. New Years Eve was also a very subdued affair with a few token drinks and the listening to of Auld Lang Syne from my bed as I tried to go to sleep!.

We played a really good game of one day cricket to win the first game by 70 runs, and we are back in Wellington getting ready for the second game which starts tomorrow - hopefully we will bne able to dish up some of the same!.