What does Tim Southee teach you about sport?
Here's a player who has yo-yoed out of the New Zealand cricket team numerous times. Now, more than 12 years since his test debut he continues to ply his trade, principally moving the ball away from right-handers, into left-handers, fielding with alacrity wherever required and tonking sixes.
Here's a player less than a week from his 32nd birthday in his 74th test on the cusp of becoming the third New Zealand bowler to 300 test wickets. He has 289 at an average of 28.76 after a match haul of 5-75 against the West Indies on the third day of the first test in Hamilton.
Here's a player still lean and menacing with the ball, leading by example as an alpha lieutenant in Kane Williamson's leadership group. He glided into his rhythmic run-up with a westerly zephyr wafting over his right shoulder, and asked questions of the batsmen which kept the slip cordon on red alert.
Southee continues to profit and hold his place in the New Zealand XI during a time of unprecedented riches in the country's test bowling ranks. The genre has blossomed from days in the post-Hadlee era when glib monikers like "Dibbly, Dobbly, Wibbly and Wobbly" were attached. Any team that can afford to leave Lockie Ferguson out, knows it's struck a seam of talent.
Yet there are so many instances, justified or otherwise, of Southee needing to rustle up the fortitude to return to the top side. Through form, injury or judgment he's missed 32 of the 106 tests played since his career started. There was his axing four tests in after a 0-for-100 solitary innings effort against Australia at Adelaide in 2008, while an absence in the Hyderabad test of the 2012 Indian tour saw him recalled to take his best figures of 7-64 in the cauldron of Bangalore. He's also overcome awkward omissions from tests against South Africa at Dunedin in 2017 and Australia at Sydney in 2019.
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Southee was once branded as the sort of larrikin whose leadership credentials could have been listed on the back of a coaster. He was first anointed with the cloak of responsibility after Brendon McCullum's elevation to the captaincy; that's since morphed into the intuition required to gauge what makes a dressing room tick. Sometimes he has to needle to extract the highest standards, or ensure egos don't get unruly, but the team remains at the core of his convictions.
It's fortuitous such skills were harnessed. Seeing his proudly soiled number 237 black cap, loose sleeveless pullover and crimson-stained trousers take the field brings a sense of familiarity and trust that New Zealand are always in the contest.