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Cricket: Commentary loses its Hart

Kevin Hart, right, the voice of Seddon Park. Photo / Supplied
Kevin Hart, right, the voice of Seddon Park. Photo / Supplied

Today's Twenty20 international between New Zealand and Pakistan marks the end of a broadcasting era at Seddon Park. Kevin Hart, veteran of 37 summers behind the microphone at the venue, is retiring.

His voice will be familiar to anyone who grew up listening to domestic first-class cricket, starting with Northern Districts against Otago in the 1978-79 season. When Plunket Shield commentaries disappeared from Radio Sport, Hart's voice continued to resonate at internationals.

"The beauty of it is that you got to meet so many people who loved the game, and formed lifelong friendships," he said.

Highlights included broadcasting his first test against India in 1980-81, watching players like Martin Crowe and Graeme Hick in their pomp, and observing Daniel Vettori's development from talented local to cricketing great.

A lowlight was learning how to absorb punches from fellow commentator and former New Zealand captain John Reid, a man with forearms the size of Popeye.

"When he made a key point, he would often sit back and give you a friendly hit in the arm. It would reverberate through your entire body," Hart said.

The former auctioneer got his break after taking veteran broadcaster Clyde Baxter on a tour of Hamilton's Seddon Park before they pulled down the old stand.

After a few tips to "slow down your voice", he became ensconced delivering both cricket and rugby broadcasts.

His last rugby commentary from Waikato Stadium was in 2014.

- Herald on Sunday

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