Andrew Alderson

Andrew Alderson is a sport writer for the Herald on Sunday.

Cricket: Henry makes clear he is in to win in stunning debut

Matt Henry. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Matt Henry. Photo / Mark Mitchell

One minute Matt Henry was travelling to Gisborne's tranquil Harry Barker Reserve for Canterbury's Plunket Shield match with Northern Districts; nek minnit he's mobbed by teammates after dismissing members of India's world champion one-day batting line-up at the Cake Tin.

He finished with 4 for 38.

There's a touch of All Black Brian Lochore's "Gone to Wellington. Playing test tomorrow", kitchen-table note to wife Pam about Henry's sudden appearance in a black shirt.

He entered an XI in the form of their lives after niggling injuries to Tim Southee and the resting of Hamish Bennett. The 22-year-old knows what injuries are about, having come back from his own, after making his first-class debut for Canterbury in 2010-11 and starting in shorter formats the following season.

Henry steamed in. Bang. Back to the pavilion went Shikhar Dhawan, fending at the back of a length ball pouched on by Nathan McCullum at second slip.

Thump. Ajinkya Rahane's pad felt the weight of a delivery which would otherwise have mangled his stumps. Swoosh. Teammates converged from the outfield to pat him on the back and soak up his aura. Henry went on to nab Ambati Rayudu and Bhuvneshwar Kumar as well. The 22-year-old's fluent action, ability to hurry the short ball on and pitch up with a punitive yorker gave the impression his career prospects have changed in 48 hours.

Still, we mustn't get carried away. The New Zealand bowling market is one of the most competitive in the world at present. Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Neil Wagner, Doug Bracewell, Mitchell McClenaghan, Kyle Mills, Hamish Bennett all want one of three specialist pace spots in the various formats. The selection panel is spoiled for choice.

Henry's debut was helped by the parsimony of Mills, conceding just eight runs and taking one wicket in his first six overs. McClenaghan also offered just nine runs in his first three overs, allowing Henry to enter the fray against a couple of hungry Indian batsmen in the seventh over.

- NZ Herald

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