Michael Hugh William Papps
July 02, 1979, Christchurch, Canterbury
Right hand Bat
After a successful junior career Michael Papps - an shortish, unflashy opener and occasional wicketkeeper with an enviable ability to work the bowlers around and convert length balls into half-volleys - was selected to play against South Africa at home in 2003-04, after a prolific home season that brought him well over 1000 runs in all matches, in another attempt to solve New Zealand's long-running search for a capable opening batsman to partner Stephen Fleming. He impressed in the one-dayers, and was duly selected for the corresponding Test series. He made 59 on his debut, but struggled afterwards. Nevertheless, the selectors kept faith, and picked him to tour England in 2004. An injury to Craig McMillan handed him a spot in the second Test at Headingley. He scored a battling 86, opening in difficult conditions, but at some price: he broke a finger, and was forced to bat down the order in the second innings as New Zealand sunk to a series defeat. After a couple of injury-marred seasons - there was a broken finger, a dislocated shoulder, and a bang on the head from Brett Lee - he was recalled for the South African tour early in 2006. He failed to pass 22 in four attempts in the Tests, but kept his name in the selectors' minds with a stellar domestic season in 2006-07, racking up 1005 runs at 91.36, nearly 250 more than anyone else.
His efforts earned him a place on the Test tour of South Africa in 2007-08, but he made single-digit scores in each of the four innings he played in the Test series, and was dropped thereafter, never to be seen in a New Zealand shirt again. But he would continue to pile on the runs in domestic cricket, becoming the first batsman ever to score 10,000 runs in the Plunket Shield, and in October 2017, at the age of 38 years and 113 days, the oldest player since the second World War to score a first-class triple-hundred, for Wellington against Auckland.
Batting & Fielding