During the McDonald's Super Smash match between Northern Districts and Wellington on December 30, the television coverage cut to a figure hunched over a clipboard.

Closer inspection revealed the identity to be Bruce Edgar. One of New Zealand's finest opening batsmen, the country's most successful national selector and now the Wellington coach was in his element as an incognito puppeteer.

Edgar is the Banksy of the New Zealand cricket scene. You can see the artistry in what he creates, but he prefers anonymity.

Wellington needed to win. They got there with one over and nine wickets to spare. The Firebirds went on unbeaten to the title.


The shot of Edgar had him beavering over a bespoke worksheet which keeps him "in the game, play-by-play". He likes to be involved, but perhaps not to the extent of when he eked out test centuries against the pace of Pakistan's Sikander Bakht and Sarfraz Nawaz, the West Indies' Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Joel Garner and Colin Croft, and Australia's Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson in a 39-test career.

"[The worksheet's] a little thing I've made," Edgar said. "It keeps me focused so I can keep a close watch on bowling patterns and predict what other sides might do.

"You get that information later, but not during the game. You can see when pressure is being built."

Edgar acknowledges the extraordinary nature of the feat, given they lost their opening four games and qualified via run rate after winning a super over contest with Otago in the last round robin match.

"It's incredible from where we were. Our campaign was about risk and reward. It's all about acknowledging and not criticising when others show intent and back themselves."

Edgar's team earned the "Dad's Army" moniker for fielding a side in which as many as seven players were aged 34 or older. "There's nothing like taking experience into pressure situations," he said. "Our theme became one of stealth. The 'home guard' caught everyone else off guard. When we dispatched our two overseas pros [Evan Gulbis and Jade Dernbach after a late night out before the December 18 game] we almost went unbeaten."

"There was a lot of self-belief. Hamish Marshall's leadership brought it all together in the right direction. That can't be underestimated."