Cricket used to be very close to my heart. It displaced tennis as my summer game in high school and I followed it avidly for the next 30 years. When tests were played at Eden Park I was often among the scattering of spectators there.
Few sporting sights were more beautiful than the first glimpse of the greensward bathed in sunlight and players in whites positioned on the field. Few moments in sport were more nerve-tingling than the first ball of a test.
Tests or one-dayers, win or lose, I enjoyed them all.
Then, quite suddenly, I didn't. I stopped following cricket. It wasn't a deliberate decision or even a conscious one. I'm not even sure when it happened. It was before T-20 was devised because I've never watched one of those.
But I think I know why it happened. There came a point for me when there was just too much international cricket going on. As soon as the Black Caps finished a series somewhere they were starting another somewhere else.
None of the contests seemed to matter much anymore. They seemed to have no purpose beyond giving players full employment, which made sense but didn't make me care.
But I've always regretted losing the bug and often wished I would be bitten again. So this summer when my daughter suggested we go to Melbourne for the Black Caps' rare appearance in a Boxing Day test, I readily agreed.
Nicole has loved cricket since the day in her youth that I took her to a test. I thought she might find traditional cricket engaging and she did. But with a young family and living in non-cricketing countries until they returned a couple of years ago, she hadn't seen much cricket for a while either.
Several Air New Zealand flights were disgorging passengers at Melbourne early on Boxing Day. Beige and black shirts abounded. The news from the MCG was all good. New Zealand had won the toss, elected to bowl and had taken an early wicket.
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At the ground we bought ear-pieces that carried several streams of commentary. One included the familiar voice of Bryan Waddle. He reckoned the number of Kiwis who'd crossed the Tasman would constitute a record crowd for tests at home. Why don't they turn up at home, he wondered.
Out in the middle our bowlers were pitching short and wide. The plan was evidently to bore the batsmen out. The Australians, one up in the series, weren't falling for it. The Kiwi crowd announced its presence when Warner succumbed to the tedium and Smith was greeted with boos.
"Give him a break," I said to the nearest braying creature behind me. "He's a cheat, he's a cheat," he told me. Then, sheepishly, "I'll boo who I like."
The Black Caps bored everyone all day for just four wickets. Next day was worse. By tea Australia had lost one more wicket and passed 400 runs. Late that day New Zealand batted and a pitch supposedly placid for our bowlers become explosive for theirs.
The third day was a disaster. One after another our batters scratched and scrambled for a few runs before getting out. Nicole and I looked at each other and faced the hard fact. We were watching a team playing out of its class.
When that happens, you can enjoy sport in a different way. This must be why British and Australian rugby crowds turn up to watch their teams play the All Blacks. When you know you're outclassed, moments of success are sweeter.
Tom Blundell's century on the fourth day, in his first match as an opening bat and facing the world's best battery of fast bowlers, brought out the best in the Kiwi crowd. We'd acquired a Barmy Army who sang the anthem, did the haka and we could not have been more joyous if we'd won.
There's much to love in a sport that can produce dimensions of success within defeat. But our cricket was always like this. Will I watch it again?
I would if every team we played were as hard and ruthless as Australia. But they are not, at least, not when they come to New Zealand. As an appetiser for Melbourne I'd gone to Mount Maunganui for the first day of the test against England and the visitors didn't seem hungry.
I remember that was another reason I lost interest. Teams touring this country may as well have been on the dark side of the moon for their audience back home.
But India will be here next week and I'm hoping Virat Kohli and co will be at their best. I think I might be engrossed again.