OPINION: Dollars and common sense make the world of cricket go round.
This comment was inspired by a message from former Manawatū cricketer Paul Mochan from Shropshire, near the Welsh border, where he resides with his family.
He says he left Brendon McCullum for forging his alliance with England as a Test manager and would have taken £500,000 a year, thank you old folks.
“And imagine his first series being against New Zealand! ”
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Agree with both sentiments Paul. We would all have preferred to see McCullum with the Black Caps, but on the face of it our coach Gary Stead’s package could be $250,000-$300,000 a year at best.
McCullum and Stephen Fleming probably earned as much for their few months training in the Indian Premier League with Kolkata and Chennai respectively.
To digress, Mochan played cricket with nasal fury. He already scored a hat trick while playing for Palmerston in 1984-85 taking the last three wickets of the day to beat Kia Toa-University and win the championship.
Needless to say, there’s a lot of excitement – and questions – about the former Black Caps captain’s new role.
Meanwhile, while Stead might be on a good wicket, we can assume that England’s McCullum will win three to four times that and deserve every penny trying to resuscitate England’s moribund stick.
He can’t make it any worse after they died out in the Ashes series in Australia, even though our Black Chaps did last time they played Tests there.
While we won’t easily forgive McCullum if England toppled their compatriots, that’s the way of the professional world. Josef Schmidt has been cleared across the New Zealand border after guiding Ireland to unforgivable victories against the All Blacks.
McCullum has not been near Test cricket since 2016 and has never coached first-class cricket. However, he was our innovative Test captain, played 101 Tests and his new captain is Kiwi expat Ben Stokes.
McCullum also gets along well with the fickle Fleet Streeters and with former England captain, Ireland’s Eoin Morgan, who could have been the conduit for McCullum to get the big gig.
He described himself as “hotheaded, confident and positive”. Maybe it will work as long as he and Stokes are compatible.
Presumably, McCullum can already comfortably put Weet-bix on the table in Matamata where he has his racehorse syndicate business, Vermair Racing Ltd. He has been involved with sports radio SENZ and does occasional commentary with Spark Sport, which would hardly be a big ticket given his paltry following.
McCullum had once wanted to be an All Black and made the South Island Schools team as the top five ahead of Daniel Carter. Cricket probably turned out to be his best income.
Meanwhile, New Zealand will need England captain Kane Williamson. He is having his worst season with Sunrisers Hyderabad, averaging just 19 years at bat, perhaps still plagued by his chronic elbow injury.
He missed most Black Caps games for over a year because of it and still agreed to his $2.7 million IPL contract.
With Sunrisers unlikely to reach the playoffs, the bonus is that he should be able to play both warm-up games in England, elbow tendon permitting.
Either way, a Kiwi will be out there under the torch.
Selica is a stayer
A brief encounter with Manawatū women’s rugby phenom Selica Winiata on Saturday revealed that she left to referee in Toulouse, France this week and intends to play for at least two more years.
While playing for Kia Toa, she is regularly called upon to officiate World Sevens tournaments, as she did last year at the Tokyo Olympics.
His ambition is to play 100 games for the Manawatū Cyclones. She already holds 10 of 12 individual records for them, including most appearances (90) and reckons the ton will take her two more seasons.
If she was a ‘guy’, she guesses she probably would have played double that number.
NRL seduces Palmy products
Jackson Ferris is one of three former Palmerston North Boys high school products trying to make their way into rugby league in Australia.
The 24-year-old went as far as the Cronulla NRL side for one game in 2020 and scored a try in the win over the Brisbane Broncos, only to injure his knee.
We learn that he then broke a bone in his foot in the first round last year. Two surgeries ruined his season, and now he’s back on a training and trial deal with Cronulla, hoping to get back on the pitch with feeder club Newtown.
Also in Sydney, with the Roosters, is 17-year-old prop Javahn Stevenson, who was scouted at a league tournament in New Zealand and is the son of former rugby prop Manawatū Talau Hala .
Kylem Vunipola left Boys’ High in year 12 and is at Marsden State High School in Logan, Brisbane, a school which has produced Cameron Smith and Israel Folau.