The Last XI: NZ's greatest tail-enders

Last updated 16:47 16/11/2007

Christopher Stewart Martin has a magnetic-like attraction for obsessive, anorak-wearing cricket stats lovers. A chap I worked with by the name of Crash once made a great comment about the wafer-tin, nicotine-fuelled Kiwi king of bunnies: "In a team of number elevens, he would bat number eleven." It's extremely hard to disagree with Crash's claim, especially when you hear a vicious rumour that he has never cracked fifty at any level of cricket in his life.

But who would bat ahead of him in that list of all-time Black Cap lower order batting battlers? So, with much ado about nothing, here is 'The Last XI'...

1. E J Chatfield: Far from the worst batsman ever to have donned the whites, Charlie Chatfield is the second man selected, primarily for cult hero appeal. The maestro of the "bat between the legs like an elephant's trunk" French cricket shot, and in possession of more guts than Parekura Horomia.  

2. K P Walmsley: The Good Lord knows we need a fighter in the opening slot - and all 101 kilograms of Kezza proved that earlier this year when he demolished Pommy rower James Cracknell in a charity boxing bout, primarily via his relentless jab. A batting average of 2.60 belies his forearm strength.

3. D K Morrison: So many ducks - a NZ record 24 to be exact - although the captain of this side will blaze past this record within 12 months. Martin has 19, now steaming ahead of Fleming (16) and Vettori (15). Morrison owns first-drop by virtue of his outrageous 166-minute 14* with Nathan Astle in his final Test knock, and an average closing in on 9 demonstrates his class.

4. G I Allott: Another premium act, the Canterbury banker turned in the greatest zero of all time when he batted for 101 minutes without the need for any lead from the scorer's pencil, finally succumbing to Jacques Kallis in one of the dreariest Test matches in history. Powerful average of 3.37.

5. M B Owens: 17 wickets and 16 runs in Test cricket. We have not forgotten one of the forgotten men of NZ cricket. Happy birthday for last Sunday too, Michael.

6. C M Kuggeleijn: The man with the outstanding middle name crunched seven runs in his two Test matches, including a pair on debut, so bags the crucial all-rounder position.

7. I A Colquhoun (wk): The late Colquhoun was a wicketkeeper and is also the keeper of an eye-watering batting average of 0.50. The gloveman scored 0* and 1* on debut then followed that up with a king pair in the second Test against England in 1955, the dreaded match where we cobbled together just 26 in the second innings.

8. B P Bracewell: With 5 ducks in 12 bats and genetics connections to the apex of power in NZ cricket, this is an angry, lion-hearted, blonde-haired speed merchant that could not be overlloked. A shoo-in.

9 & 10. LA Butterfield & CG Rowe: Along with IB Leggat, the only players to have genuinely averaged nought for NZ. Both scored pairs on debut (other notables on that list include James Franklin and Ken Rutherford) in the first ever Test against Australia, a match that also doubled as their one and only appearance in Test cricket.

11. C S Martin (c): Player/coach and inspirational skipper.

Manager, L S M Miller: Holds the NZ record for consecutive ducks, four in a row tic-tac-toe-toe, in South Africa in the 1953/54 season. With an average miles north of 10 he was never a genuine contender for this eleven.


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