Overseas tour great season starter

The Palmerston North Boys' High School first XI have had a better pre-season than most teams in the country, with a tour of India and South Africa under their belt.

The team got back last Saturday and were straight back into it playing club cricket.

Boys' High coach Mike Taiuru said India was a highlight because of how passionate the people were about cricket and how respectful they were to the touring team.

In India Boys' High played the Imtiaz Ahmed Cricket Academy, Gopalan National School, St Bede's Anglo-Indian Higher Secondary School and the junior team for the Chennai Super Kings Indian Premier League team, winning all four.

One day they arrived at the ground where they were playing and it was covered with hundreds of people playing.

"It was like Ongley Park on a Saturday morning," Taiuru said. "Lots of young fellas out there playing. But a . . . lot more people playing probably in a space the tenth the size." Practice nets were busy all day with businesses hiring them out for part of the day so employees could use them.

The cricket fields were also a lot different to Manawatu pitches.

"I can understand why the Indians are pretty average fielders. You don't want to go to ground too much. You get cut up pretty badly. In Bangalore the outfield was 90 per cent dirt with patches of grass." The heat was hard to play in, especially in one of the games in Bangalore where Taiuru estimated the playing XI drank at least 100 litres of water throughout the day.

There were no cases of Delhi Belly and the only health concern of the tour was pace bowler Matthew Wells who got appendicitis in South Africa and had his appendix removed, ending his tour playing-wise.

He was not allowed to travel and was laid up in Durban for three days.

In South Africa their games against Rondebosch Boys' High School and Durban High School were called off midway because of rain and the game against Menlo Park High School was completely rained off.

They played and beat St Stithians Boys' College and St Alban's College, but lost to Bishops Diocesan College.

Taiuru said they all had a fantastic time but by the end of the 24 days they were keen to come home after solely travelling and playing cricket.

The 18-strong playing squad all had an equal amount of playing time, with Navin Patel and Arana Noema-Barnett sharing the captaincy.

Tour leader Paul Gibbs had a big organising workload.

Now this tour is out of the way, there is some thought they could go to Zimbabwe in three years. Taiuru said that now they had been to India, they had established contacts and future tours would be easier.

Manawatu Standard