'Young Guns' reunion: Where were you in '92?

HAMISH BIDWELL
Last updated 05:00 17/02/2014

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STILL SMILING: Martin Crowe takes a stroll on the Basin Reserve as part of New Zealand’s 1992 World Cup team’s reunion during the test between New Zealand and India.

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The  gang wasn't quite all here.

Thanks to the generosity of Ron Brierley, team reunions have become a feature of Basin Reserve test matches.

From near and far the players come, with death or ill-health generally the only reason for absences.

It's 22 years since the Young Guns captured the sporting imagination.

Led by masterful captain, and player of the tournament, Martin Crowe, co-hosts New Zealand finally bowed out of the 1992 World Cup at the semifinal stage, beaten by eventual champions Pakistan at Eden Park.

The team, and the innovative, thrilling cricket it played, has remained in many hearts. That admiration was evident when the players that were present did a lap of honour on the second afternoon of this match against India.

John Wright, Ian Smith, Ken Rutherford, Danny Morrison, Chris Cairns and Willie Watson weren't among them, for differing reasons. But that didn't take the gloss off a weekend of revelry and reminiscing for one of the true Young Guns of that 1992 side.

"It's fantastic to catch up with everybody," Chris Harris said.

"Obviously it's a wee bit of a shame that not everybody's here, but the majority of the guys are. There was the initial finding out of what everybody's doing now and then it was reliving the memories and the stories and they tend to get exaggerated as you get older. It's been pretty fun."

For most of the others in attendance - Crowe, Mark Greatbatch, Andrew Jones, Dipak Patel, Gavin Larsen, Rod Latham, Murphy Su'a - it's the best part of 20 years since they picked up a bat in anger.

Harris was 22 at the 1992 tournament and 22 years later still turns out in Canterbury club cricket for Sydenham. Just like he did all those years ago, Harris hasn't lost his ability to snaffle the odd wicket or pace winning run chases.

But this reunion, the first for the 1992 side, has been all about the old days, with Harris saying the rapport between the players was instant, despite the fact that many hadn't caught up for years.

Harris went on to three more World Cups where, like they had in 1992, New Zealand threatened to make it all the way to the final before falling a game or two short. If any New Zealand team can finally win cricket's biggest trophy, Harris believes it's this Brendon McCullum-led one in just under a year.

"There weren't any games where we froze [in his era]. We were either beaten by a better team or just let the opportunity slip, but this team's got a good chance of breaking through that psychological semifinal stage."

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- The Dominion Post

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