Life was never dull with Scott Styris about

JONATHAN MILLMOW
Last updated 05:00 25/06/2011

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OPINION: Just because Scott Styris has retired let's not pretend he has been an angel.

On the whole he will be remembered as a competitive and effective batsman and New Zealand sides were certainly stronger when he was in the middle order.

But throughout his 11 years he banged heads with most people he crossed and right till the end was telling folk how it should be.

Looking at his on-field exploits first, Styris was most at home on low bouncing surfaces as evidenced by his magnificent form at the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies.

In keeping with his stubborn nature, he preferred a homespun technique over that of the textbook, and to his credit he was super on occasions, though crucially 10 per cent off his best at the 2011 World Cup.

His secret was he knew his game well. He didn't believe in footwork on good pitches because he trusted his eye like the Indian batsmen do.

On the eve of one-day games he practised slogging to his strong-hitting areas, he bowled a handful of cutters with his wrist and caught in fingerless black gloves to protect his hands for the next day.

The greatest tribute you can pay to Styris is that the crowd never went home, or the living room light never went off, until the combative Styris was back in the hutch. Eleven of Styris' makeup and New Zealand would have won a lot more than they did.

He was exceptional at bringing run chases back from the brink and peppering the boundary in the closing overs with a nervous tailender watching on from the non-striker's end. Last season's midpitch dust-up with Mitchell Johnson at Napier is Styris' career in a snapshot. He rescued a lost cause, refused to back down to a player of far higher world standing and gave the selectors a spray afterwards.

It was never dull when Styris was around. He has been a polarising figure, both in cricketing circles and with the greater public.

He grew sick of hearing about "the great team of the 80s", constantly felt hard done by at the hands of the selectors, and by the end of his career was trying to control how the media should operate. In short he could hit boundaries but didn't always know them.

The timing of his exit from international cricket is sound. The new leadership team of John Wright and Ross Taylor will play conservatively and need time to grow and Styris is best out of their hair. He is 35.

Even if the statistics aren't startling, Styris has had a fine career and few have the luxury of being able to say that.

One-day statistics: 188 matches, 4483 runs, average 32.48, highest score 141, centuries 4, 50s 28. 137 wickets, average 35.32, best 6-25, economy rate 4.74.

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- The Dominion Post

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