It has to be said, the walking Trivial Pursuit question has a fine view from his office, all the way down Queen St out to the Waitemata Harbour. This is where "Who is the only legspinner to play a test for New Zealand and not bowl a ball?" spends his days as director of Robert Jones Holdings Ltd, running the Auckland end of the business while his eponymous and illustrious co-director lives in Wellington.
For those that knew Greg Loveridge when the only view from the top he was interested in was playing test cricket, it is a difficult picture to marry. Loveridge was always an arts and letters, rather than mergers and acquisitions, sort of guy. While club cricketers would regale their mates on the boundary with tales of drinking and dancing, Loveridge was more likely to regale with a tale from Dostoevsky.
Still, he could rip a ball better than he could rip a drinking yarn and after four first-class games he was picked for his first and only test, against Zimbabwe at Hamilton. What happened next could serve as a cautionary tale for young cricketers.
Loveridge knew he was in the running for test selection.
"Yes. I played one first-class game for CD at the end of 1994-95 and had been in New Zealand squads. I'd bowled pretty well for New Zealand A' against the Australian Academy. Out of the blue I got called up for the New Zealand training squad that toured India. I bowled well in the nets and got Martin Crowe out a couple of times. As a result of that I got put in the New Zealand team when Dipak Patel got injured. I went off to Darwin and broke my finger fielding and missed the tour. So I knew I was in the mix."
It was, of course, not to be the last time his digits heralded disaster.
"I walked out to bat, No 9, in my first test and batted for about 20 minutes. Strangely enough I wasn't nervous. Henry Olonga pitched one up and I hit him for four. The next one he dropped short and it hit me in the finger and that shattered my knuckle in three or four places. I felt sick trying to hold the bat. I went off and had it X-rayed and they only looked at the top of the [index] finger and they said it was fine. I tried to bowl in the nets the next day and blacked out. It wasn't pretty, I had surgery the next day. Mate, that was it."
The cricket dream didn't die with a broken knuckle but he had the massive misfortune in that rehabilitation happened concurr-ently with the start of New Zealand Cricket's Academy, an institution that could not have failed the player more if it set out to.
"It was terrible for me. I was still getting up to speed from the finger and, while that was happening, New Zealand Cricket got rid of everybody that had had anything to do with me and the Dayle Hadlee regime came in. I was sent off to Adelaide to work with Terry Jenner [Shane Warne's mentor]. He changed my action and that was it, I never got it back."
He wasn't a big fan of the Lincoln-based high-performance set-up.
"I had a terrible season there. I batted quite well but that's not what I was there for. I hated being at the Academy, I hated being changed. I had this ridiculous farce whereby I was doing my Academy-prescribed action during the day and going back at night and practicing my normal action. It was a complete farce and I wasn't old enough to know that, if I had been picked to play test cricket at 20, I was doing something right and should have trusted my instincts. I thought that they must know better."
Had he fallen out of love with the game, or just the Academy?
"I was bloody disillusioned but had got a 50 for the Academy against England and was the subject of the press conference. Afterwards I was talking to Christopher Martin-Jenkins and told him I wasn't enjoying myself, was not going to make the test side, that I'd always been an academic and would love to go to Oxford or Cambridge. He wrote about it in the Telegraph and the next day I got a call from Cambridge and a week and a half later I got a letter from Oxford. The first year of the Academy was a joke, so stupid... it just wasn't set up."
So dreaming spires it was. Loveridge took up a Commonwealth Scholarship at Cambridge graduate college, St Edmund's. There, he began to fall in love with cricket again.
"It was just amazing. The best years of my life. In my second year I started to bowl well again and my batting began to take off, averaging 45 in first-class stuff, though we played on pretty good tracks. I met [former NZC supremo] Chris Doig at Lord's when we were playing the Varsity Match. I said I'd like to come back to New Zealand and play and said I'd like a job. He offered me a job with a bank but I said I was interested in politics, so he got me a job with the Labour Party in 1999."
Loveridge sniffed around Labour Party HQ for a couple of months before attaching himself to Trevor Mallard's wagon, eventually joining his staff as a speechwriter. On the field, Loveridge's body again failed to come to the party as he dislocated his shoulder while fielding, two weeks before returning home.
"That put me out for the whole season. At that stage I'm 25 and starting to think it's not going to happen. I was working in Wellington and playing for CD and starting to realise I couldn't work and play cricket properly. It just doesn't work. I'd always prided myself on being a really hard trainer so I was hating just squeezing it in after work."
The travel bug struck and this time Loveridge stayed south of the equator, heading to Cape Town, South Africa, to play club cricket for Alma Marist.
"Paul Harris was the other spinner. He bowled a lot better than I did. It was quality cricket. Graeme Smith was playing. It was probably like a Hawke Cup game when the first-class players are playing. I had a terrific season with the bat and came back home really thinking I could play for New Zealand again."
Loveridge returned home to Palmerston North and did a Masters at Massey because he could fit that around training. Everything was going to plan...
"I was bowling really well, played my first game against Otago, was starting to get back into a rhythm and then dived at point and did my shoulder again. I kept bowling and I got smashed. That was pretty much it for me. I played off and on as a batsman without doing much and was standing in the field against Wellington at Masterton and thought, Shit, I'm 28, I'm never going to play for New Zealand'."
He hadn't lost his wanderlust, even if he had lost the big, ripping legspinner, so he took off for the Himalayas in search of the Yeti. Well, he would have if this was the Hardy Boys, but instead he taught in an international school in the predominantly Nepalese, Indian city of Darjeeling.
"After six or seven months teaching I toured around India for three months and John Wright organised for me to play for Sachin Tendulkar's club side in Mumbai. It was unbelievable. I was skint and they put me up in a five-star hotel for a month for free."
Loveridge came back and worked for KiwiCan, eventually running the Youth Development programme and its 40 staff.
"I hated it. It was a disaster. You can only really go into a sector like that when you have succeeded in other areas. It's an incredibly political arena, charities. There's too many of them and most aren't run as well as they should be. You spend half your time dealing with governance issues rather than the real issues."
Providence then took over. He interviewed for a job at Treasury and was then walking down the street in Wellington when he bumped into the husband of a Massey acquaintance. He told Loveridge he was leaving Robert Jones Holdings Ltd. Arch-liberal Loveridge met arch-everything Jones.
"He was in a funny mood. I basically got drunk with him and he said, Do you want a job running it as a general manger?' I said I wasn't sure, it was a big change... and a big step up in salary."
"I took a couple of days and then said, yeah, what can be the harm in running a $300m company on a day-to-day basis'? That was three-and-a-half years ago. I've now been made a director and Bob and I get on fantastically."
And that's how The Only Test Legspinner To Have Played For New Zealand And Never Bowled A Ball, ended up with a view like that.