Only one blemish for Black Caps fill-in fielder

HAMISH BIDWELL
Last updated 05:00 04/02/2014
Peter Younghusband stndrd
KEVIN STENT/Fairfax NZ
MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE: Petone-Eastbourne club cricketer Peter Younghusband, back at Westpac Stadium where he had a memorable night as New Zealand's substitute fielder.

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Just as well Peter Younghusband and Matt Henry don't flat together anymore, otherwise the former might have been on dishes for the rest of the year.

Younghusband, who fielded in place of Jesse Ryder during New Zealand's one-day international victory over India at Westpac Stadium last Friday, had taken the park with one goal in mind.

"People say it's not so nerve-racking because you're only there as a fielder, but you don't want to let the whole team down with one dropped catch," Younghusband recalled yesterday.

As it turned out, the only person the 23-year-old inconvenienced was an old team-mate. Younghusband and Henry spent three seasons playing together at Christchurch's Marist-Harewood club and were flatmates as well.

"He's actually a really good mate of mine and it just so happened that he was the guy I dropped a catch off," said Younghusband.

Thankfully missing Bhuvaneshwar Kumar wasn't costly, with game all but wrapped up. But it still niggles at the now-Petone-Eastbourne all-rounder, who prides himself on his fielding.

He showed some of that prowess, in catching Indian superstar Virat Kohli earlier in the innings, along with some athletic ground fielding. The Kumar catch, though, was a dolly.

"I'd never fielded under lights before and the first catch I got came straight to me and it was hard and flat and instinct took over. But the other one was high and I had time to think about it and, because the night sky's so black, there was no perspective behind it.

"But I should have caught it, no excuses."

Not that it spoilt his night. Yesterday Younghusband was modelling the black New Zealand pants he wore on Friday and the shirt and cap were at home, along with a sleeveless sweater given to him by Nathan McCullum.

From captain Brendon McCullum down, everyone made him feel valued and wanted and he rated being in the dressing room as one of the great privileges of his life.

"Being involved in the team talks, seeing the aftermatch presentations that go on behind the scenes and hearing the team song and that - it was amazing."

Originally from Zimbabwe, Younghusband's family emigrated to New Zealand 10 years. A promising leg spinner, he was first picked to play Hawke Cup cricket for Nelson as a 16-year-old.

"I was only a wee fella. I'm not big now, but I was a real little fella back then."

He then earned a commerce degree from the University of Canterbury and moved to Wellington last year, to further his cricket.

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Being a substitute fielder is one thing, but Younghusband hankers for the chance to be on the big stage as a fully fledged member of the Black Caps' team. His progress has been good, making the Wellington A team and claiming five-wicket bags for Hutt Valley and Petone-Eastbourne in recent weeks.

- The Dominion Post

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