Cricket: Redmond name gets another go

By Paul Lewis

It is to be hoped that Aaron Redmond's test career has more longevity than that of his father, Rodney's; but Aaron will also be hoping he gets at least the same start as his father.

Redmond Senior was the famous subject of one of cricket's best-known trivia questions: Name the batsman who scored a century and a half century in his test debut and never played test cricket again.

This strange set of circumstances occurred 36 years ago when Rodney Redmond, a dashing left-hand opening batsman, was called into the New Zealand team to play Pakistan in the third test at Christchurch. He hit 107 and 56 and was, as you might imagine, whisked into the New Zealand touring team to England the following year.

But Redmond had changed from glasses to contact lenses, struck problems with his vision, and endured a poor tour. He was never again in test contention and retired comparatively young, with a test average of 81.5 derived from only two turns at bat.

Aaron Redmond's accession to the Black Caps comes at the same age as his father - 28.

He is also an opener and has also been propelled forward by New Zealand's ongoing difficulties in finding a reliable top-order batting pairing.

Redmond's selection for the tour to England this month coincides with the dropping of opener Matthew Bell and middle-order batsman Mathew Sinclair; plus the recall of James Marshall and the confirmation of hard-hitting Northern Districts left-hand batsman Daniel Flynn.

Redmond, who is travelling and unavailable for comment, has long been thought to have talent but, after being consistently overlooked to this point, could be forgiven if he'd thought his chances of national representation had passed by.

Otago Cricket's chief executive (as well as former national selector and well-known judge of good cricketing "horse flesh") Ross Dykes said: "I think the selectors were right to wait until now. Aaron is a good player and I always thought he had the ability to play for New Zealand but he wasn't always consistent before.

"Now he is - I think this is the third consecutive season he has continued to play consistently.

"Everyone knew he had a ton of ability but previously he didn't always use it to the maximum.

"I think he is a much more settled character now and much more in tune with himself and his game."

Dykes said Redmond had started his career, like his father, as a "dasher" but had "chunked his game down a bit now as he has recognised that he has to bat for longer and that he has got time to play his shots and he has a full range of shots".

Convenor of selectors Sir Richard Hadlee said: "Aaron has been one of the State Championship's leading top-order batsmen for a number of seasons. He has consistently made runs from the opening position.

"We hope he can provide a long-term solution to the top order."

The test team bowling ranks will be filled by Mark Gillespie or Michael Mason, who will be on trial but have been selected for the ODI squad.

- Herald on Sunday

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