Cricket: Kuggeleijn gets call-up due to injury

By David Leggat

Scott Kuggeleijn has been given a break thanks to injuries to other bowlers. Photo / NZME
Scott Kuggeleijn has been given a break thanks to injuries to other bowlers. Photo / NZME

Had it not been for an injury in a Plunket Shield match in Dunedin this week, Scott Kuggeleijn would still be waiting for his international callup.

Once senior seamers Tim Southee, on Wednesday, and Trent Boult, on Thursday night, were counted out of the third test against South Africa with hamstring and groin injuries respectively, the Weekend Herald understands the national selectors were going to plump for Auckland quick Lockie Ferguson to come into the squad.

However, ODI international Ferguson picked up an injury while taking eight wickets to help hurry Auckland to an eight-wicket win over Otago at University Oval this week.

So the net was cast wider and, as New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White said yesterday, 24-year-old Kuggeleijn was the standout candidate in the eyes of selectors Mike Hesson and Gavin Larsen.

Kuggeleijn faced two court appearances on a charge of rape. The first, last August, resulted in a hung jury. He was acquitted a month ago at the second trial.

White said NZC, which approved Kuggeleijn's selection, respected the court process and was not in the business of religitating past events.

"To do so would be manifestly unfair on all parties involved. [The court is] the most appropriate forum for judging matters as serious as this."

Kuggeleijn, son of former international allrounder Chris, has impressed the selectors for several seasons. He bowls fast and aggressively and hits a clean ball as a middle/lower order batsman.

He has taken 166 wickets at 33 in 51 first-class games for Wellington and Northern Districts in the last six seasons, and hit three centuries while averaging 30.98 with the bat. This summer, Kuggeleijn has taken 31 wickets at 25 for ND, the most of any fast bowler in the shield.

Kuggeleijn made himself unavailable earlier in the summer as his second court appearance was coming up. It would be, said NZC in a statement at the time, "a significant distraction for him and the game itself".

Now he is in the position of being picked on merit.

"He has been steadfast. It has been tough because he's never been a guy who shows a lot of emotion," Chris Kuggeleijn said.

Players' Association boss Heath Mills said: "He was cleared of the charges through the judicial process and can now continue to work as a professional cricketer, which includes playing international cricket."

- NZ Herald

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