I played in an era where we won against sides for the first time. They were all pretty special. So to beat Australia in Australia in 1985 was a real highlight. I also regard beating India in Bombay as very much a highlight because it was such a hard thing to do, and to beat England in England. It was a time when we established ourselves and got more respect among the Test nations.
I was brought up in Wellington. I fell in love with cricket at a very early age. I just wanted to play. In New Zealand, you get the opportunity to play lots of sports - rugby, soccer. I just thought that cricket was something special. I went through age-group and representative teams. I played with Bruce Edgar, who was the wicketkeeper in our teams. So I actually started cricket as a batsman and bowled a few offspinners. When I got to secondary school, someone suggested that wicketkeeping might be a better thing for me. So I followed through and gradually worked my way through it. I was understudy to Warren Lees when I came into the New Zealand side. He got injured on the tour of Australia and I got my opportunity. We swapped roles between 1980 and 1983, and I sort of made it my own, which was cool.
Lot of people ask me that. It was easy and it was hard. It was easy because his line and length was so consistent that you didn't find yourself ducking and diving down the leg side very often. You knew that he was going to be around or just outside off stump. The other thing about it was, you were always quite alert. He created so many opportunities and beat the bat so often. So you found yourself on edge a lot. The hard part was that he set very high standards, and you felt like you didn't want to let him down. Even towards the end, when Richard Hadlee came back into the attack during a day's play, along with the slip cordon, you were on edge a wee bit. It didn't matter if you had played your first Test with Richard Hadlee or your 50th.
In an era full of great fast bowlers, he was right up there with the very best. He carried New Zealand's attack in terms of penetration and wicket-taking by himself on his shoulders for a very long time.
He didn't often ask for a lot of advice. He had his own game so well under control. His rhythm was absolutely spot-on. But every now and then he would feel it wasn't quite right, it wasn't coming out of the hand. He prided himself on the fingers going down the seam and the seam hitting the pitch, particularly with the new ball. And that's how he got movement off the pitch.
It was a throwaway line from Mike Gatting [Graham Gooch] from back in 1986. He said that it was like facing the World XI at one end and the Ilford 2nd XI on the other. Those kind of comments can come back and bite you on the bum [laughs]. I think it did with Mike Gatting's particular situation.
"When Richard Hadlee came back into the attack during a day's play, you were on edge a wee bit. It didn't matter if you had played your first Test with Richard Hadlee or your 50th"
Nothing [smiles]. But my hands were sore at the end of that day. He beat the bat a lot. He had a great battle with Kepler Wessels. He left the ball well. Richard Hadlee bowled slippery fast that day. I think he bowled a lot of deliveries around 150kph. The rhythm was absolutely perfect. He just kept smacking into the gloves. We were quite a long way back at the Gabba. It was close to perfect bowling.
I know there weren't too many hard ones. I can recall a lot of fairly fine nicks. If you play long enough, it increases your chances to break records.
You form a bit of a bond with some. With some people, you say hello to in the morning and with others you chat a bit longer. I started off against Australia with Rod Marsh, who was an idol. You find yourself playing against a guy who has so much respect, and when you sit across from him in the dressing room at the end of the day's play and have a drink, it is awe-inspiring. When you feel that you can compete with him and be comfortable with him, I think it helps you feel that you belong in the Test environment.
I got a 173 against India when we were in trouble. It enabled us to win the series.
He got 169, didn't he? It is an interesting record because it was such a long-standing one. I think it was [from] 1908. I managed to get past it. One of those records that could stay another 100 years or could go this afternoon. Whoever is going to score it, has to do it quickly because not many batsmen come after No. 9 [laughs].
The best technician that I saw and played against, was Bob Taylor. As a wicketkeeper, he made it look very, very simple. I had great respect for Kirmani because he kept on spinning pitches in difficult conditions. Dujon would have been tailor-made for cricket these days. His batting had to be as good as his keeping. In our day you could exist on your glovework.
You can't be 6'5" and be a wicketkeeper. I think they are born in that respect - physically. I think to a large degree you typecast them to a role in cricket. If you are small, you can move and catch well.
"I love having that record [highest score by a Test No. 9]. I am not going to have the most dismissals and anything else. I have held this for 27 years and it is my little piece that I can every now and again throw at Richard Hadlee or someone like that"
We were always the underdogs when playing against Australia. New Zealanders would say something quietly in the slips, but it was not a tactic. It was sometimes a reaction rather than a plan. We might chip in if things get heated, but we are unlikely to have instigated it. Richard Hadlee said nothing. Chatfield said nothing. They just got back and bowled. At the end of the day, that's how they got their satisfaction. Our most confrontational bowler was John Bracewell, a spinner.
MCG back in those days was quite a big ground to walk off. I was walking off the field [eighth wicket down, having made 4]. I obviously was disappointed because I thought we'd lost. I had given away an opportunity to win the game. Brian McKechnie was walking on as I was walking off. You would've never met a more quiet, laid-back and calm bloke than Brian McKechnie. You just don't.
It was definitely my final memory of Martin Crowe as a cricketer. We remained friends until he passed away. I did the eulogy at his funeral.
Our chance of winning was greater [if he had been on]. We knew his style of captaincy. We knew our roles. John Wright came in and put a different slant on it. I am not saying it cost us. Inzamam [who made 60 off 37 balls] could have done that to anybody at any time. While Javed Miandad was at the crease, you knew Pakistan had a real chance.
He is New Zealand's best ever batsman. [Kane] Williamson will end up breaking his records. He is a fantastic player, but I will never forget watching Martin Crowe as a team-mate, sitting in the dressing room here at the Basin, when he made 299. I was watching every shot he played, because he was so good to watch. You'd be a fool not to watch him.
"End of the day, we felt like we won [the underarm game] but we actually lost. A lot of people who come to cricket today are too young to even know about it, but you still hear them talk about it. We got record crowds after that"
The real me is talking about cricket and recalling stories in a social situation, and having fun. The commentary box is a place for a lot more discipline. My job is to talk about the game today and doesn't involve my playing days. People at home like to hear about Richard Hadlee and Martin Crowe. You've got the responsibility to bring that into your commentary from time to time. Sometimes I get frustrated at commentary, with things that you see out there.
I probably do 40-50 games of rugby a year for Sky TV New Zealand. When they bought the rights to cricket on television, I did commentary for four to five months in this country. The boss at Sky TV told me that I should do a job in rugby on the sidelines. This was 19 years ago. I have done rugby commentary in 120 rugby Tests and 150-160 cricket Tests. This summer I'm commentating on rugby on February 24, and then the next day, New Zealand v South Africa in cricket.
When he made the decision to go to soccer, he was actually Ross Taylor's 1st XI captain. They are lifelong friends, went to boarding school together in Palmerston North. Jarrod could have gone either way. He progressed through the university system in America and then went on to play for New Zealand.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84