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.

Advertisement

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

Andy McKay
Age: 37
New Zealand test cricketer number: 249
Played: India at Nagpur, Nov 20-23, 2010
Return: 25 runs and 1-120

Andy McKay took one test wicket but it was enough to clear out a packed Nagpur crowd.

After toiling hard the previous day, McKay opened day three by steaming in towards the legendary Sachin Tendulkar who was playing test match 174 and lay 43 short of his 100th international hundred.

"Standing at the top of my mark for the first ball, I was thinking 'this is pretty cool — I get to bowl to Sachin Tendulkar'," McKay told the Herald from Scotland, where he has worked as a physiotherapist since retiring from cricket in 2015.

"I was trying to take it in and knock his poles over at the same time,"
McKay continues: "A nick went for four through second slip, and I was like 'ahh, ok…gutted'. He edged the next one just short of gully. So I thought 'I'm going to dig one in here, try and hurry him up'.

"It didn't get as high as I wanted but it kicked a little bit. He fended at it, got a feather through to Gareth Hopkins and the rest is history."

The crowd fell silent as McKay headed to fine leg.

"I went to grab my drink and said sorry to the crowd," he recalls.

"Then literally half the crowd left. It was the most bizarre thing. We toiled for the rest of the day."

McKay had played nine of his 19 ODIs before his debut in whites after carrying the drinks for the earlier draws. He was struck by the difference to ODIs and the added prestige of it being a decider.

It was almost a dream start with his first ball, a 50-50 lbw decision going in favour of Gautam Gambhir. After a few tight spells he struggled fitness-wise late in the day as India took control.

New Zealand bowler Andy McKay appeal to umpire Simon Taufel Against Indian batsman Gautam Gambhir. photosport
New Zealand bowler Andy McKay appeal to umpire Simon Taufel Against Indian batsman Gautam Gambhir. photosport

"Playing one-dayers, my thing was running in and bowling quick. I didn't have to pace myself. I'd never really had cramp but I cramped in both groins simultaneously in those last five or six overs," he says.

"I was boundary riding hoping I didn't have to bowl the last couple of overs. You learn pretty quick to pick when you run in hard."

McKay finished with 1-120 as India made 566 for 8 declared and winning by an innings and 198 runs and figured in a ninth wicket stand of 50 with Tim Southee. A gastro bug put him out of a test against Zimbabwe the next year, before a young Trent Boult made his test debut in Australia.

"My form had dipped and I didn't deserve to be picked," the 37-year-old admits.

But a bigger call-up was to come for the 2011 Cricket World Cup in India, after Kyle Mills was injured. Coach Mark Greatbatch told McKay he'd be on the first plane if the Black Caps defeated South Africa in the quarter-finals.

"I went to bed with South Africa three down but got a text from Grant Elliott an hour and a half later. I flicked on the TV and South Africa were nine down. I caught a flight the next day thinking I'd have the best seats in the house for the semifinal but ended up playing."

McKay captured the key wicket of Sri Lankan star Kumar Sangakkara but Sri Lanka won.
McKay, who lives outside of Edinburgh with his wife and two young children, says his brush with international cricket is a career plus.

"It's nice on the CV. My specialty is more the sport side of things so it's a good conversation starter," he says.

"You get a lot of buy-in from the patient and it helps keeps your books quite full."

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