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Cricket: Black Caps batsman Colin Munro stood down from Auckland Aces

Colin Munro playing for the Auckland Aces. Photo / Richard Robinson
Colin Munro playing for the Auckland Aces. Photo / Richard Robinson

Black Caps batsman Colin Munro has been stood down from the eighth round of Plunket Shield starting today, following a New Zealand Cricket hearing on March 8.

A statement from NZC chief executive David White said the penalty was because Munro used "inappropriate language" in a match between Auckland and Canterbury last week at Eden Park.

"Given his previous record in this area [he was] handed down a one-match suspension. Colin did not appeal the ruling," White wrote.

Munro made no comment when contacted by the Herald, other than to say he was willing to cop the ban.

The incident is understood to have involved a verbal spray at Canterbury all-rounder Andrew Ellis. Wayne Knights and Brent Bowden were the presiding umpires.

Munro was expected to play for Auckland after featuring in the South African tour-opener - a Twenty20 international at Eden Park - where he was bowled first ball swinging at Chris Morris. He missed selection for the ODIs.

There are two sides to the Munro conundrum.

On one hand, he has been branded a recidivist for mouthing off, prompting one source to say Munro had "burned bridges and displayed a lack of respect for players and officials".

That impression may have restricted his chances at international level because he is perceived as a dangerous commodity. Munro starred on occasion for New Zealand this summer, including a maiden Twenty20 international century from 52 balls against Bangladesh.

However, he has not added to the one test played against South Africa, his country of birth, at Port Elizabeth in 2013.

That is the area where Munro generates empathy in some quarters. Supporters claim any lashing out is borne of resentment that a first-class batting average of 51.85 from 44 matches, including 12 centuries at the strike rate of 98, has not earned higher honours. His detractors point out many of those runs have come on flatter wickets like his home ground, Eden Park Outer Oval.

This season Munro has 475 Plunket Shield runs at an average of 95, including three centuries. Two were made at Auckland's Colin Maiden Park, and one came at Rangiora.

Compare Munro's record with Neil Broom, who has been called up for his test debut against South Africa on Thursday. Broom has scored 424 runs at an average of 53 this season. Incumbent No.5 Henry Nicholls averages 36.81 from a career of 52 first-class matches, including four centuries.

The latest incident raises the question of how much more international cricket Munro will play as T20 leagues clamour for his services.

He turned 30 on Saturday and has been contracted to franchises in the Big Bash League, Caribbean Premier League, Indian Premier League and English T20 Blast over the past year.

It would be understandable if Munro pursued T20 endeavours ahead of international honours. Lengthy tours would only serve to keep him away from his young family for the majority of the year.

In January, Munro sought out former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum for advice.

"We can put our heads in the sand and say everyone should want to represent their country," McCullum told Newstalk ZB's Tony Veitch at the time. "I think first and foremost people do, but there's an opportunity cost as well.

"You look at a guy like Colin. T20 teams around the world look at him and see him as an excitement machine, yet he can be - without being disrespectful - out at Eden Park No.2, on an overcast day playing a four-day game where he doesn't really enjoy it and he's playing for $1000. [Alternatively] he can play in front of a full house at the SCG or the MCG and get $25,000 a game and be loved and wanted."

- NZ Herald

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