Musings from Beyond the Boundary | 30 September


Musings from Beyond the Boundary | 30 September

Praneel HiraHearts

Congratulations to Anna Peterson, this week named to take over the HEARTS captaincy following Maddy Green’s departure to Wellington.

Peterson, a top-order batter and off-spinner, brings a wealth of experience and a cricketing pedigree, her father Warwick having played many seasons at Keith Hay Park for Eden Roskill.

She went to secondary school in Tauranga and made her debut for Northern Districts at Mount Maunganui in January 2008, picking up the wicket of Megan Kane.

A few weeks later she played her first representative T20 game as well. Central Districts, Peterson’s opponents that day, included last year’s Kel Tremain Trophy winner, Black Fern Kendra Cocksedge, as well as Rachel Priest, who was also in the news this week. It hadn’t taken long for Peterson to have worked her way up the batting order, coming in ahead of Holly Huddleston, another future HEART.

Peterson joined the HEARTS in 2014. She had already scored 33 on her WHITE FERNS ODI debut against England in 2012. Today, she has 120 domestic and international limited over matches to her credit, alongside another 91 T20 appearances.

Her first assignment for this summer will be to lead the HEARTS on their early October visit to Tasmania for four T20 matches against the Hobart Hurricanes.

It’s been a big week for Peterson, as she was also named amongst the seventeen women awarded WHITE FERN contracts for this season – part of the inaugural group to enjoy the enhanced contracts agreed earlier this year, a further step in the professionalising of the women’s game. Despite missing out last season, Peterson became a regular member of the WHITE FERNS squad through much of the summer.

HEARTS Holly Huddleston, Katie Perkins and Lauren Down also secured contracts. For Down, it was her first national contract, after making a promising start to her international career in 2018. Down first played for Auckland in 2011, when she was just sixteen.

Hard-hitting dasher and wicket-keeper Rachel Priest also returned to the contract list, having been away from the WHITE FERNS scene for a couple of years. Priest has, however, been a stand-out T20 player in the last two Kia Super League tournaments in England. Her aggressive stroke-play will neatly complement the likes of Sophie Devine and Sophie Bates this February at the T20 World Cup in Australia.

One player who won’t be a part of that competition is England wicketkeeper, Sarah Taylor, who has joined the ranks of distinguished recent retirees. Taylor is England’s second-highest international run-scorer, behind only the legendary Charlotte Edwards, but it is for her immaculate work behind the stumps that she is best recognised.

Adam Gilchrist last year called her the best wicket-keeper going round and she is generally regarded as one of the outstanding wicket-keepers in the game’s history. She was the first woman to play men’s senior two-day Grade cricket in Australia when she turned out for Adelaide’s Northern Districts side in 2015, and Mike Selvey regarded her capable of playing men’s county cricket in England.

Only 30, the latter part of her career has unfortunately been hampered by anxiety issues which have limited her international appearances, particularly overseas, and she has now decided to retire from the top level of the game.

Staying in England, the County Championship Division One title has gone to Essex for the second time in three years, with Somerset (who have never won the title) finishing runners-up for the third summer in the last four. Essex also won the Vitality Blast T20 competition after defeating Worcestershire in the Final, so a very successful season for the Chelmsford-based side, where Auckland ACE Matt Quinn is based. Quinn only had three First-Class outings with the top side this summer, through which the top-performing New Zealander was yet again Warwickshire’s remarkable Jeetan Patel.

Patel averaged 20 with the bat, scoring a couple of fifties along the way, and he was Division One’s third-highest wicket-taker. His 64 victims trailed Essex’s Stephen Harmer, another off-spinner, and the former South African quick bowler Kyle Abbott.

Hampshire’s Abbott struck a mortal blow to Somerset’s championship ambitions in the penultimate round of matches when he took 9/40 and 8/46 to hand them a 136-run defeat. Abbott’s 17 wickets for 86 was the fourth-best bowling analysis ever in the English County Championship and the best bowling figures in a First-Class match since Jim Laker’s 19/90 for England against Australia in 1956.

Several New Zealanders joined English counties for the last couple of games in the season, but only BJ Watling made a significant impact, scoring an unbeaten 104 for Durham against Glamorgan and facing his 20,000th delivery in First-Class cricket along the way.
Hamish Rutherford squeezed in four matches for Worcestershire at either end of the summer, averaging 44 with the bat, including one hundred and one fifty. Logan van Beek will have been disappointed not to make a greater contribution to Derbyshire’s performance, finishing with 19 wickets at 38.2 and 127 runs at 14 from his 9 Championship appearances.

In the Caribbean, the CPL enters its closing stages and Glenn Phillips is currently atop the run-scorers charts. Phillips has played nine matches for the Jamaica Tallawahs and has put together 253 runs at a strike rate of over 150. He has 110 more runs than his distinguished opening partner Chris Gayle, and he is scoring at a faster rate as well.
Coming in after a strong top order, Jimmy Neesham hasn’t had as many opportunities with the bat as he would like, but his 9 wickets for the Trinbago Knight Riders has him fourth equal amongst the competition’s top wicket-takers.

Finally, catching up with the 2018 feat of Shezhar Mohammad, son of Shoaib Mohammad and grandson of Hanif Mohammad. In scoring 265 in a Quaid-e-Azam Trophy match in Pakistan last season, he became the sixth member of his family to score a First-Class double-century, joining his grandfather Hanif, great-uncles, Mushtaq and Sadiq, father Shoaib and uncle Imran (Sadiq’s son). That’s a record that might stand for a while.