1 Why do you enjoy commentating cricket?

I was raised in an era before TV, radio was the only real access to cricket. I used to listen to commentary from all around the world. At Wellington College, lessons were shared with ball-by-ball coverage, my transistor and earpiece never far from my desk.

Basin Reserve tests were usually sick days, I must have been a very sickly child in summer. I enjoy being able share my passion and enjoyment for the game with those who care to listen and hopefully paint the picture which after all is what we're trying to do.

2 How has the job and the commentary box changed from when you made your debut in 1981 for the New Zealand-India test at the Basin Reserve?

In some ways, it's easier with the new technology, and some ways harder, as the demands are greater. Mobile phones and laptops have made life much easier, as I don't have to sit for hours in a hotel room waiting for calls, especially overseas.

The style has changed, too. In the early '80s, we adopted the BBC TMS style of mixing fun with information, not the ball-by-ball for six deliveries and then expert filling in between overs. It's now more conversational and friendly.


3 What is your proudest moment in the job?

Just being entrusted with commentating on a game that still has massive international appeal. Being able to share the box with some of the great commentators and former players. I've been proud to call wins by New Zealand sides which outweighs the losses. The test win over Australia in Hobart was one such occasion. Also twice being invited to present the New Zealand players with test caps at the now traditional pre-test match team gathering.

4 What have been your best and worst commentary experiences?

The Hobart test, Brendon McCullum's 300 at the Basin, Richard Hadlee's 374th and 400th test wickets and the Martin Crowe-Andrew Jones world record partnership. There have been so many fun times. Worst? Trying to produce a professional product in places like India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka when there was no access to phone lines or facilities. Bombs in Colombo and Karachi.

Being threatened with a knife through a wire fence at Queen's Park Oval in Trinidad after I foolishly criticised the noise of the conch shell blower who was apparently a fixture at the ground. Didn't do that again. Sitting in the open on a hot, humid day in Colombo as Stephen Fleming scored a marvellous double hundred, while the ICC's anti-corruption man sat in a large air conditioned commentary booth meant for my use.

5 What have you enjoyed most about touring?

Meeting people, working in every test playing country, enjoying the traditions of the game that ooze from English grounds alongside the best commentators and analysts available. Fred Trueman, one of my boyhood idols, falling asleep after a long lunch during a shared commentary stint at Lord's. Later sharing time with him at the Bollinger tent drinking $90 bottles. He got his free, I had to pay for mine.

6 How did you cope with the bomb blasts of Sri Lanka (1987 and 1992) and Pakistan (2002), at the time and in the aftermath?

I think quite well. I didn't get any counselling - not sure whether or not I needed it. Some might say I could have done with counselling. Got a bit jumpy whenever a door slammed for a while afterwards. But it was something I just had to deal with. After the first explosion in Colombo, I was shaken by what I saw but the on-the-spot reporter in me took over and didn't allow much time to be concerned.

The same in Pakistan, with my hotel room covered by broken glass. I was inundated with phone calls from around the globe, CNN, BBC, TVNZ and various news cameras placed in front of me, also prevented me from worrying about myself until it was all over and then reflecting on my third close call.

7 Who do you most enjoy commentating with, and why?

Jeremy Coney is the best analyst going around. He's entertaining, clever with words and has a power of description second to none. We started together in 1987 and have been a good combination on and off since. The late Peter Roebuck was also a brilliant analyst, as was David Lloyd (Bumble) when he was doing radio.

Ball-by-ball callers Jonathan Agnew, Christopher Martin-Jenkins and Brian Johnston were great colleagues to work with and the best of all, Tony Cosier, who had a such a lovely voice and a perfect understanding of timing and awareness of the big moments in the game.

8 How do you address the feedback and recognition that come with the territory?

I didn't handle the criticism that well early on but accepted the reality of life in the public domain and have developed a thick skin. I don't always enjoy the social media involvement. It's now accepted that we need to be social media savvy but anonymous criticism sometimes gets personal and seems almost hate-fuelled, and that I detest. I'm happy to debate issues but often the personal abuse makes that impossible. I love the praise, but don't we all?

9 Where is your favourite overseas ground, and why?

Lord's - need I say more? It's the tradition of the game, which some might find stuffy and pompous but having had the pleasure of calling games from the "Home of Cricket" has been one of the greatest experiences of my commentating career. A second choice, the old Adelaide Oval.

10 How have you and your family dealt with spending so much time apart?

My family have been my greatest supporters. It has never easy spending time away from home, missing important family moments, kids' first day at school, birthdays, etc, and not being around to share significant events. It's much easier now with things such as Skype and FaceTime.

11 Does the job have any down sides and if so, what?

Spending time in airports, hotels and being ill overseas are down sides but they are always outweighed by the fun of touring with so many individuals, the friends you make and the chance to provide coverage for the fans who love the game like I do. BBC commentator Don Mosey called his book The Best Job in the World and I cannot disagree.