Richardson’s criticism off the mark
SPORTS TALK WITH JOSEPH ROMANOS
Radio Sport presenter and for- mer test cricketer Mark Richardson stunned me the other day with his contribution to the Bruce Edgar affair.
Edgar has been treated like a piece of dirt by New Zealand Cricket and is no longer a national selector.
Richardson enlightened his audience by commenting that Edgar had a history of spitting the dummy.
Some New Zealand sports followers might think Richardson knows what he’s talking about, and wouldn’t make such a comment lightly.
In fact, it would be difficult to find a person who less deserves such criticism than Edgar.
Richardson justified his comment by saying Edgar had retired early.
Edgar retired from international cricket at 30, having represented New Zealand for nine years. He played in an amateur era and turned his attention to making a living for his family.
a brilliant batsman, a blazing strokemaker. Those who saw him then regretted he never showed that side of his game more often in the test arena.
Instead he became an opening batsman, given the job of blunting opposing attacks so strokemakers such as Martin Crowe could prosper.
Edgar faced Imran Khan, Ian Botham, Bob Willis, Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Colin Croft, Joel Garner, Jeff Thomson, Dennis Lillee, Craig McDermott and Kapil Dev season after season, batting bravely and productively.
He always put the team first, despite questionable treatment.
On the 1984 tour of Sri Lanka, he was dropped from the test lineup.
Sri Lanka were weak then and New Zealand captain Geoff Howarth must have fancied their bowlers, so he opened and Edgar was out.
Edgar was reinstated when the opposition again included faster bowlers.
The team aspect was vital to Edgar, and he took exception to Richard Hadlee keeping the prize for player of the series – a car – one time in Australia.
The agreement had been that the team shared its winnings, and Edgar was offended one player, no matter how good, would put himself above the team.
After a successful business career, Edgar applied for the New Zealand Cricket chief executive role, but the job went to David White.
You can make your own judgments about that decision.
He then got a part-time role as a New Zealand selector and by all accounts was superb, picking consistently and wisely, and dealing well with the players.
He must get some credit for New Zealand’s good run in the World Cup last summer.
The players appreciated his input, as did New Zealand coach Mike Hesson.
It seems he was treated shabbily, having to beg and borrow to get tickets for big matches, and learning his presence was not required or even encouraged for tests.
His immediate boss was Lindsay Crocker, and they had long-running problems.
Crocker seemed to play a private power game, unnecessary when dealing with someone of Edgar’s standing and integrity.
I wonder where White and the New Zealand Cricket board fitted in.
Did White condone Edgar’s treatment? Did the test cricketers on the board – Geoff Allott, Martin Snedden, Richard Hadlee, and president Stephen Boock – know about it?
If they did, shame on them. If they didn’t, there should be serious questions asked.
We end up with Crocker and lose Edgar, not a good trade-off in my book, despite what Mark Richardson might think.