Picking the greatest ND team of all time is no easy task. Some of NZ's greatest players have represented ND at times in its history - think Vettori, Williamson, Boult, Southee, Sutcliffe, Turner, Howarth, Cairns, etc.
"If we are picking the greatest players to have represented ND however, you might be surprised that some NZ greats would struggle to make the team," said Pat, as we discussed some of the great players to pull on the maroon.
"Our best home grown talent would find themselves in competition with some international players who are true greats in their own countries and on the world stage.
"Perhaps it is better to separate the overseas players from the NZ players and pick a team from each talent pool. That removes parochialism from the argument!"
Over the years ND has benefited from the talent and experience of a number of overseas players. When wisely selected, most appropriately to fill a gap in a particular skill set, they have made a significant contribution to ND's successes and assisted the development of our own players.
"I think the ND International XI that I have selected would be competitive against any current international team and across all formats (I have selected a squad of 13 to allow coverage of all three formats)."
The first four batsmen were or are at the very top level of international cricket. Between them they scored 72 test centuries and 63 ODI centuries.
1. Andrew Strauss (England) - Played ODs and T20s for ND in 2007/08. We claim we kick-started his international revival! When he left us after scoring a century v CD in his final game he re-established himself in the England team and 12 months later was captain. The rest is history! Interesting fact: in an era when players play for multiple teams, Andrew only ever played for Middlesex and ND.
2. David Warner (Australia) - Played T20s for ND in 2010/11. Can't argue with his selection on his playing record.
3. Tillikaratne Dilshan (Sri Lanka) - Played T20s for ND in 2009/10.
4. Herschelle Gibbs (South Africa) - Played T20s for ND in 2010/11; would be chairman of our social committee.
The next 2 batsmen could possibly have reached the heights of the top four, but didn't do so for different reasons. However, their first-class records are amazing.
5. Graeme Hick (England) - Undoubtedly ND's most successful import. In two seasons for us, 1987/88 and 1988/89, he scored over 2,000 first-class runs at an average of 79, including a remarkable 10 centuries. Was just as successful in English county cricket and in his first-class career amassed over 41,000 runs at an average of 52 (136 centuries).
6. Brad Hodge (Australia) - Played T20s for ND in 2010/11. For some reason mostly ignored by Australian selectors despite an outstanding domestic career and succeeding whenever they did pick him. In all first-class games scored over 17,000 runs at an average of 48 with 51 centuries. Hugely successful in T20 competitions all round the world - 7,405 runs at 36 with a strike-rate of 131 (and 65 wickets as well).
Unlucky to miss out? Possibly Matthew Maynard (England). Matthew played first-class and one-day cricket for ND in 1990/91 and 1991/92. Another with a stellar county record - almost 25,000 first-class runs at 42 and over 13,000 one-day runs at 36. Misses out to Hick and Hodge as his performances in four Tests and 14 ODIs were unsuccessful.
Now I need a pace bowling all-rounder and a spin bowler (preferably an all-rounder as well, as my specialist pace bowlers are not exactly noted for their batting!).
7. Kevin O'Brien (Ireland) - ND had to battle for years to gain recognition as a first-class association so it is appropriate that a player from a country striving for similar recognition at Test level should make our team. And even more fitting as Kevin recently made history as the first Irish player to score a Test century. Kevin played T20 for ND in 2014/15 and 2015/16.
Went for Kevin ahead of David Hussey (Australia), despite the latter's record, because I needed a pace option. Hussey scored 45 hundreds in first-class cricket, but wasn't picked for Test cricket. Did play 69 ODIs averaging 32 and, 29 T20 internationals averaging 22. Took 18 ODI wickets and 19 T20 international wickets with his off-spin/slow-mediums. But Hodge and Dilshan provide that variety as well. Hussey played T20 for ND in2010/11.
8. Daniel Vettori (Italy) - ND just hasn't imported spinners - we have always had a good supply of locals from the days of Tom Puna and Allen Lissette through to Cliff Dickeson, Matt Hart, Grant Bradburn, Bruce Martin, and now Ish Sodhi and Mitch Santner. So in desperation I have gone for the best Italian spinner of all time. Not a bad bat either. Besides, how could you pick any greatest ND team without Daniel Vettori.
At a stretch, the other possibility was Wally Walmsley who played three first-class games for ND in 1958-60. Wally was a leg-spinner who emigrated to NZ after playing 37 first-class games for NSW, Tasmania, and Queensland. He averaged 27 with the bat (including a century) and took 122 wickets (three five-wicket bags) in his first-class career. A really nice man, I was lucky to have him as manager when I captained ND U-23. Of course in his day they didn't play one-day cricket let alone use white-balls., hence my preference for the Italian player.
Next, a wicket-keeper who is also a capable bat.
9. James Foster (England) - Played T20 for ND in 2012/13. Another player who should probably have played more internationals. Hugely respected in England for his glove work and the stats support it. In 289 first-class games took 839 catches and 62 stumpings. In 223 ODs caught 246 and stumped 65. In 179 T20s caught 79 and stumped 47. And a decent contributor with the bat - 13,761 runs at 36 in first-class cricket, 3,357 runs at 28 in ODs, and 2,158 runs at 21 in T20s.
Now for my four specialist pace bowlers. All have established reputations as T20 bowlers, but three of them have shown that they are wicket takers in all formats.
10. Chris Jordan (England) - Played T20s for ND in 2017/18 and 2018/19. Worth a place for his out fielding alone! Has 10 five-wicket bags in first-class cricket, so a genuine red-ball strike bowler to go with his skills as a white-ball bowler. Specialist "death bowler" in white-ball formats and has genuine pace.
11. Ben Laughlin (Australia) - Played T20s for ND 2013/14 - 2017/18. A white-ball specialist, has played only seven first-class games. Highly regarded for his variations of pace and ability to bowl at the "death". Has played five ODIs and three T20 internationals. Has taken 167 wickets in 137 T20s at the outstanding average of 22.
12. Kyle Abbott (South Africa) - Played T20s for ND 2018/19. In all first-class matches has taken 25 five-wicket bags, so another top-class strike bowler with real pace.
13. Chris Tremain (Australia) - Played T20s for ND in 2013/14. Perhaps less well known than the other three pace bowlers, but another with genuine pace and strike power. Has eight five-wicket bags in first-class matches and played four ODIs (seven wickets at 6.3 runs per-over).So there it is. A team with world-class batsmen across all formats, genuine pace bowlers, a world-class spinner (thanks Italy), and one of cricket's most highly regarded glovesmen. Andrew Strauss would drop out of the T20 team and Ben Laughlin from the red-ball team.