Jeremy Wells

Jeremy Wells on cricket

Jeremy Wells: Deaks cuts through moss, mould and gunge

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Murray Deaker.  Photo / Paul Estcourt
Murray Deaker. Photo / Paul Estcourt

In the aftermath that followed the fallout to last week's cricket public relations disaster, I knew I could rely on one sports talk show to fly above the cloud of confusion and provide clarity to the most interesting story for New Zealand cricket supporters since three players owned up to smoking marijuana in Paarl during the 1994 South African tour.

I've always held Murray Deaker in high regard, not only for his unique insight into all sports - apart from league, basketball, hockey, lacrosse, sailing, tennis, baseball, softball and most track and field - but also the way he can seamlessly and without any irony navigate his way from hard-hitting sports current affairs questioning to woollen underlay and cleaning-product endorsement.

On Sunday, Deaks secured an interview with NZ Cricket board member and former boss of the Radio Network Bill Francis, who was keen to respond to allegations in an article written by Herald on Sunday journalist Andrew Alderson. Francis also wanted to publicly express the board's support for its chairman, Chris Moller, who, according to him, was "a great New Zealander".

The interview made for compelling listening. Deaker laconically probed Francis about how this latest PR disaster compared with other media storms he'd been involved with during his tenure as head of talk at the Radio Network - namely Paul Holmes' cheekie darkie outburst and the Tony Veitch affair. Francis placed the Ross Taylor episode in the same bracket as the Holmes and Veitch cases. He expressed concern at the way coach Mike Hesson had been treated by a number of the cricketing public through email correspondence.

Francis came across as a thoughtful, intelligent and reasonable man.

I learned more during that hour about the complexities of NZC than I had for years. I also learned heaps about moss, mould and gunge removal. Who would have thought that 10 litres of Wet and Forget covers 100sq m of moss, mould and gunge? Has anyone ever had 100sq m of moss, mould or gunge? In saying that, the introduction of the free Marolex spray application gun means you could easily Wet and Forget a rugby field full of moss, mould or gunge and hardly break a sweat. Salesman Wayne Harris was bundling up Wet and Forget with Hitman, Miss Muppet's Revenge, Bugger Off and a new fragrance, Eau de Cologne for just $99.95. Bargain. Harris came across as a thoughtful, intelligent and reasonable man.

It's been an extraordinarily eventful month for cricket. We showed amazing courage to win a test match in Sri Lanka. The captaincy changed hands. The board of NZC announced sweeping new changes to its own governance and constitution due in the new year. And our greatest batsman became the first person in the world to metaphorically burn his blazer on Twitter.

As a form of original protest, figuratively burning your New Zealand blazer on a social media site is without equal. I don't fully understand the health challenges that Martin Crowe's facing, so it's hard to place his actions into context, but it's fair to say that his open letter to New Zealand's top order published on cricinfo.com last month and his letter to the Weekend Herald added genuine insight to the debate.

Crowe suggested his blazer would be auctioned for charity in the future. Whomever succeeds in bidding for that prized lot will pick up one of the great pieces of New Zealand cricket memorabilia - in the same league as the Excalibur Lance Cairns hit six sixes with, the underarm ball, Richard Hadlee's Alfa Romeo and the Zig-Zag papers used to roll the joint in Paarl.

I will be bidding furiously.

- NZ Herald

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