There are a select group of New Zealand cricketers whose careers for one brief moment took them to the pinnacle of the sport in this country.

These are the "one test wonders" - and we celebrate them because for that one moment in their lives they were the best this country could produce for the international stage.

They are the conduit between those who go on to revered test careers… and the rest of us who toil at club or social level long after such dreams have passed.

Herald writers David Leggat, Chris Rattue, Cameron McMillan and Andrew Alderson give an insight into some of these men - they spoke to many of them and hear of their experience for better or worse, and how they feel looking through hindsight's lens.


There are 30 in total, 14 who are alive, and 12 who are retired. This is the story of one of those players.

Andre Adams
Age: 42
New Zealand test cricketer number: 219
Played: England at Auckland, March 30-April 3, 2002
Return: 18 runs, 6-105, one catch

"Good afternoon Andre, Sir Richard Hadlee here."

"G'day Paddles."

"Your country needs you."

With those four words reverberating from the loudspeaker in his car, Andre Adams knew he would be a test cricketer. He was selected for the final match of the 2001-02 season against England at Eden Park, his home ground.

"We had lost the first test in Christchurch - despite Nathan Astle's record double hundred – and drew in Wellington. My form had been running hot in first-class cricket, so I thought I might get a go."

Adams' test began in a panic.


"We came together at the City Life hotel in town, but I was a bit nervous and forgot my whites. I took the team transit van and drove home on the morning of the test.

"As it happened I picked the shortest ones I had, and looked like a bit of an idiot, but there you go."

Rain disruptions meant Adams didn't bowl until the fourth morning. That worked in his favour. The pitch had become seamer-friendly after so much time under the covers. Floodlights were also used regularly in what became a day-night test by stealth.

"I remember Michael Vaughan drove me through the covers on the up for two and I thought 'if he plays like that on this wicket I've got a chance'. I got another ball into that area and he feathered it to Adam [Parore]."

As an experienced first-class cricketer, Adams had forged a sound method with Auckland to prepare him for such an occasion. But that couldn't account for what happened next, bowling to Andrew "Freddie" Flintoff on 29.

Andre Adams leaps in the air after dismissing James Foster at Eden Park. Photosport
Andre Adams leaps in the air after dismissing James Foster at Eden Park. Photosport

"He missed one by a long way. It angled in and seamed away, like a fast leg spinner. It was an absolute treat on a helpful wicket, and he hit his pad.

"I could see that, so I didn't appeal, but the guys behind the stumps were adamant. Doug [umpire Cowie], who until that point had had a blinding game, put his finger up.

"Everyone was giving it to me in the huddle saying 'why didn't you appeal?' Thankfully Freddie was halfway off when the replay came on. The guys couldn't believe it."

Nor could an enraged Barmy Army supporter at the end of the over when Adams strolled "about 32m" to fine leg on the old ground dimensions.

"The shape of the boundaries made you feel like you were standing in the crowd. This guy wobbled over blind drunk and cursed me for cheating.

"I looked at him and said 'mate, I didn't appeal' just as another replay came up. He looked at it, then looked at me, and said 'as you were' and stumbled off.

"Then Flem [captain Stephen Fleming] moved me, thank god."

The other wicket which stands out for Adams was his caught-and-bowled of England captain Nasser Hussain for 82 in the second innings chasing 312. The visitors fell 78 runs short and the series was drawn.

"It was a hugely emotional moment because from there [at 207 for eight] I knew we could win the test."

The experience came with moments of levity.

"I bowled a cracking bouncer to James Foster at one stage. I told Drummy [Chris Drum] the night before that we were going to get him, because he was behaving like a pork chop.

"Drummy was a great mate and Foster had made some sort of sheep noise - 'baaa' - towards him. I got a bouncer to whip his head back and take his helmet off - which was quite remarkable because he's got a massive head. He won't mind me saying that - we're good mates now.

"He got the fright of his life. I ran down, and everyone was waiting for me to go him, but I went 'baaa' instead. He smiled and the other guys thought it was hilarious, then I nicked him off."

Circumstances such as a stress fracture, months of dizzy spells and the selectors' preference for taller fast bowlers saw Adams revert to a lifestyle playing county cricket for Nottinghamshire, but he had fulfilled a dream.

"I had always wanted to play test cricket. I was and still am a complete test cricket nuffie. To have the opportunity to win and contribute with great mates like Lou Vincent, Daryl Tuffey and Chris Drum was special, and taking the final wicket [Matthew Hoggard] brought a sense of relief and joy.

"I felt like Superman that night."

The one test wonders series:
Stuart Gillespie - 'I had visions of carrying the drinks'
Andre Adams - 'Your country needs you'
Peter Truscott - A vote shy of another test
Andy McKay - Dismissing the Little Master
Gary Robertson - The one wicket that shouldn't have been
David Sewell - No average performance
Rodney Redmond - One of the great one-test careers
Greg Loveridge - The bowler who never bowled
Michael Mason - 'An experience you'll never forget'
Ian Leggat - A minute in the middle
Richard Jones - A Christmas call-up
Bruce Morrison - The call that finally came