Aces' Roneel Hira spinning for second T20 title

AARON LAWTON
Last updated 05:00 22/01/2012
Roneel Hira
Getty Images
YOUNG TALENT: Roneel Hira of Auckland.

Relevant offers

Cricket

Falling one-day international ratings another blow for Cricket Australia's broadcast rights hopes Australia not at their weakest: Mickey Arthur Sublime Virat Kohli, Murali Vijay put India ahead against England Tough lesson for Black Caps skipper Kane Williamson: 'you can't do it all yourself' Digging the data: Martin Guptill is an ODI powerhouse and a test match flop Brownlie stars but Knights and Stags share the points New wicketkeeper set for next Black Caps series as race heats up in domestic cricket Black Caps coach Mike Hesson takes aim at 'sub-standard' batting and passive fielding Opinion: We can handle Australian defeat, it's the meek surrender that grates this time Umpire Paul Reiffel misses rest of Mumbai test following concussion

It was while preparing for his side's Champions League Twenty20 campaign in India last year that Roneel Hira was told the bad news.

After three seasons as a contracted player for the Auckland Aces, the talented left-arm orthodox spinner, it had been decided, would not be offered a deal for the coming season.

For a domestic cricketer with an already admittedly mediocre earning capacity, it was effectively a death knell for his career, and he soon found himself contemplating a life outside of cricket.

But after sitting down with a sports psychologist, Hira had a change of heart and decided to view the misfortune as a "turning point" in his career, rather than the end of the road.

And so it was with that mindset the 24-year-old returned to training for the Aces late last year. With only match payments to play for, it has been a tough summer away from the cricket pitch.

But the saving grace for Hira is he's been a standout for Auckland and is the leading wicket-taker in the HRV Cup heading into today's final against Canterbury.

Not bad for a bloke who doesn't even have a domestic contract.

"At the moment, I'm only receiving match payments and I won't lie – it's not easy," Hira admitted.

"Most people think that if you play cricket for Auckland it's great and that you get lots of money.

"But that's far from the truth and if you don't have a domestic or Black Caps deal, it's pretty hard to make a living."

This afternoon at Colin Maiden Park in Auckland, the Aces will be relying on Hira to spin them to their second straight domestic T20 title.

In an impressive campaign, he's taken 13 wickets and, importantly given the format, is going for only 5.8 runs an over.

If he was hoping to catch the attention of his paymasters at Auckland Cricket, few could argue he hasn't already achieved his aim.

That said, he's not about to get carried away with his purple patch of form. "I've been giving myself a reality check after every game," he said. "I'm really not trying to think about it too much and am just trying to put my best foot forward when I get an opportunity.

"Twenty20 is one of those games where bowlers can disappear, and we saw that against Canterbury.

"I'm just trying to take things as they come, letting the ball go in games and hoping for the best.

"I've done the work in the nets and during the pre-season, and that preparation has helped me heading into games."

Ad Feedback

With Daniel Vettori opting out of international limited-overs cricket for the foreseeable future, there is an opportunity for a spinner from the domestic scene to step up in his place.

Nathan McCullum is undoubtedly at the top of the food chain, but there is no clear-cut choice as to who would make a suitable No2.

Former international Simon Doull is an unashamed fan of Hira and recently wrote in his column for Sunday News that the Aucklander would be on the national selectors' radar.

Hira is aware of the "newspaper talk" but isn't letting it get to his head. He's got two papers to finish his Bachelor of Arts at Auckland University of Technology and, with the help of the Players' Association, is already looking for a winter job. Should a call come from Black Caps coach John Wright, he'd happily shelve those plans in a heartbeat.

"I get some of it relayed from my friends, which has happened a bit in the last couple of weeks. But I can't really read too much into that.

"I have ambitions to play for New Zealand in T20 or one-day cricket, but if it happens this season, next season or doesn't eventuate, I don't think it will change my outlook much of where I'm trying to get to in the big picture."

- Sunday News

Special offers
Opinion poll

Should bouncers be banned from cricket?

Yes - they're too dangerous

Neutral - it is what it is

No - it's just bad luck when it goes wrong

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content