Chat­field shares his ex­pe­ri­ence

Top crick­eter tells his play­ing se­crets to Dan­nevirke High School 1st XI play­ers

Bush Telegraph - - News - By DAVE MUR­DOCH

He only ever bowled one bouncer and he only ever bowled one over around-the-wicket (to Alan Bor­der) in test cricket.

These were two pieces of in­for­ma­tion vol­un­teered by Ewen Chat­field when an­swer­ing ques­tions from the Dan­nevirke High School 1st XI play­ers between in­nings dur­ing the clash with Dan­nevirke Old Boys on Sun­day Fe­bru­ary 11.

High School play­ers had been asked by Coach Bruce Hoop­erSmith to pre­pare one ques­tion for Ewen.

He was asked how he coped with a bats­man who was get­ting on top of the bowl­ing and he replied that al­though he was renowned for putting the ball onthe-spot over af­ter over he had to in­tro­duce va­ri­ety — the slower ball, yorker, vary­ing the an­gle of de­liv­ery from the crease and set­ting a field for a par­tic­u­lar type of de­liv­ery.

“Pretty much like they do in Twenty20 cricket to­day,” he added.

Asked about Twenty20 cricket he says he re­ally en­joys watch­ing the game and even finds One­day­ers a bit bor­ing these days. He said it has saved cricket, fit­ting into the busy life of spec­ta­tors by tak­ing on­lythree or four hours to play.

Ewen did not know how he would have coped in Twenty20 or whether he would have earned an IPL con­tract. He thinks the de­mands of play­ing pro­fes­sional cricket in leagues like IPL and Big Bash is a lot dif­fer­ent from his am­a­teur days.

Asked about his big­gest ob­sta­cle in cricket he replied it was re­cov­er­ing from be­ing hit on the head and knocked out in his first test for New Zealand (in the days be­fore hel­mets) in 1974/75. The English physio saved his life as he had swal­lowed his tongue. It was 12 months of no cricket be­fore he could re­turn to the game.

Asked about the favourite coun­tries he liked to tour he said he pre­ferred Eng­land and Aus­tralia be­cause con­di­tions were the same as New Zealand but each of the oth­ers — In­dia, West Indies and Sri Lanka had its at­trac­tions. He never wanted to tour Pak­istan again af­ter his first ex­pe­ri­ence.

Con­cern­ing his bat­ting he con­fessed to hit­ting only two sixes in rep­re­sen­ta­tive cricket — against David O’Sul­li­van at the Basin Re­serve and Stephen Bock at Lan­cas­ter Park but says one of the two high­lights of his ca­reer was bat­ting as last bats­man with Jeremy Coney to put on the fi­nal 50 runs to beat Pak­istan to take the se­ries at Wellington 1984/85 fin­ish­ing 21 not out.

His other proud­est match was when he took 10 wick­ets to help New Zealand beat the West Indies in Trinidad.

As to who was the best test bats­man, he said all teams had their stars, reel­ing off names like Gregg Chap­pel, Viv Richards, Su­nil Gavaskar, Javed Mian­dad, Al­lan Lamb.

Asked why he has re­turned to cricket af­ter a decade’s lay­off he says he doesn’t like golf, bowls is too slow and the op­por­tu­ni­ties to play against old foes in age-grade cricket like the Over-60s is great fun.

His ad­vice to young crick­eters was “to al­ways treat a prac­tice as a match” pic­tur­ing the field and bat­ting balls between imag­i­nary field­ers and bowl­ing to suit their place­ment. Prac­tices should be fun and in­volve well-tri­alled drills which are quick and en­joy­able, es­pe­cially with field­ing.

Hav­ing started play­ing cricket as a third for­mer at Dan­nevirke High School, he felt his ca­reer should in­spire the play­ers of to­day who have more op­por­tu­ni­ties to progress into a ca­reer.

EWEN Chat­field talks to the Dan­nevirke High School 1st XI between in­nings on Sun­day Fe­bru­ary 11.

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