Doug Marillier made his international debut in this match and played a valuable part, opening the batting with Alistair Campbell and contributing 27 to a partnership of 83. He talks to John Ward after the match.
JW: Doug, can you outline the circumstances that led to your selection for this match?
DM: What actually happened was that I went overseas; the ZCU sent me to the Australian Academy for two and a half weeks, which did an awful lot for my confidence and helped me a lot in terms of actually playing the game. But because I was overseas I missed the first couple of warm-up games against New Zealand, so I hadn't done anything when the time came to select the side for the longer games. When I did get back, I played four games; I hit two hundreds and three twenties. One century was in the final of the Lilthurbridge Cup, which is the Country Districts league; in two club games I scored twenty-odd, and in a warm-up game against New Zealand for the Academy on Monday I made 117, so that's why I got picked for the side. I didn't actually think I was going to get a game today; I thought they might play their usual team and if the guys didn't do well today I thought I might get the cut tomorrow. I was terribly happy to get the nod today.
JW: When did you actually get the news that you would be playing today?
DM: I heard I was in the squad when Denis Streak phoned me on Tuesday in Kwekwe. In the team today, I heard bits and pieces; lots of people were saying they had spoken to So-and-so and I would definitely play, but I didn' t want to count my chickens in case I would be disappointed. I only found out for definite last night, six o'clock, when we had a team meeting and they announced the side.
JW: Did you find it a relief to be batting first, or would you rather have waited until later?
DM: Well, I don't know! Now I've done it, I'm relieved to have done it! Having played against them at Country Club, I know I am capable of playing this level of cricket, but playing for the Academy side and then playing for the national team was pretty much a dream come true. The pressure was much more than for the game we played on Monday. This morning I was doubting a little bit, but I'm glad they actually had confidence in me and picked me for the side. I was happy I batted first. I was a bit nervous about the running; I'm not a particularly good runner between wickets . . .
JW: Neither is Alistair Campbell!
DM: But I think we got on quite well considering. And also fielding - the worst thing I would possibly do was drop a catch but luckily not one came to me!
JW: And nice having as your first ball one you could put away fro runs straight away!
DM: Yes, definitely! I'll tell you what, to get bat on ball to the first ball you get in international cricket, I couldn't have asked for anything else. I was expecting the first ball, because I'd played against them before and they were obviously pulling finger a lot more this time than they were on Monday, I figured they might just let one loose, head-hunter type thing to start with. But I don't mind them bowling half-volleys on leg stump!
JW: Any other shots that you remember with particular pleasure?
DM: Yes, one cover drive and one leg glance. Nothing spectacular; I only got 27.
JW: An excellent opening partnership, though.
DM: Yes; I was a bit lucky, I think, to start with, but it's one of those things. I'm just happy I got a bit of luck in this one-day game, because if I'd got out early my confidence would have gone through the floor. I got dropped a couple of times; I hit the ball pretty hard so I wasn't surprised to get dropped, but if they're easy at this level they don' t drop them. But hey! Hopefully I've done enough to keep myself in the squad for some time, and hopefully I can better what I've done today. That' s how confidence goes.
JW: Did you have much of a chat with Alistair while you were batting with him?
DM: I didn't chat an awful lot with him; we didn't speak much but we obviously mentioned the things we had to do. I really did enjoy batting with him because he built my confidence because he's a really positive player. Other times you bat with guys who tend to pick out your weak points but Alistair picks out your good points, and that gave me the confidence to go through. I did enjoy batting with him, and I would like to get used to batting with him, I suppose!
JW: How did you come to get out?
DM: I got a long hop from the off-spinner [Sulzberger], and I spliced it straight down the throat of the man at square leg. A soft dismissal, really, when I'd done all the hard work. I'm usually good against the offies and then today what happened - yuch, I don't know! Better things to come!
JW: When you went back to the dressing room, were you able to relax with a good feeling in your stomach and watch the others pile on the runs?
DM: No - I was still a bit nervous when I came out. Your nerves in your first big game are probably your biggest ever. I was more disgusted with myself than anything else because I'd got out to a long hop. It was the worst ball I'd faced the whole game!
JW: They'll know what to bowl you next time!
DM: Yes, exactly! Long hops!
JW: Did you have much work to do in the field?
DM: I had a fair amount of ground fielding to do, but no catches came my way. I had one or two dives, but it's just a different standard. I was usually fielding relatively close to Guy Whittall who helped me an awful lot. I'm still learning the game, obviously, and the difference between national team and club level is a huge jump. Just in the fielding side I'm learning lots and lots.
JW: What do you feel was the cause of New Zealand's downfall with the bat?
DM: They had two batters who got themselves in and then got themselves out. That's what lost them the game, I think: Roger Twose was going like a train, looking really good, but a soft dismissal - hit the ball straight back to Paul Strang. A lot of pressure created, and the other batter was Spearman. He got himself in and got himself out. They needed one of those guys to go through in order to make it. It was quite a big task.