On the back of a strong domestic season with both Otago and Derbyshire on the English County circuit, one of our favourites Neil Broom earned a recall to the Black Caps. He came out firing, with scores of 22, 109*, and 97 in the three ODIs against Bangladesh, to average 114 for the series, before following that up with 73 in the first Chappell Hadlee match against the Aussies. After a long domestic career, in which he averages close to 40 (38.86 and 38.49) in both important domestic formats, it only felt right to have a sit down with the domestic stalwart for a cold one (Speight’s, obviously) and find out what makes him tick.
Firstly congratulations on your recent recalls to the limited-overs and test teams —well earned! What had you been told to work on to get those recalls?
Cheers, I wasn’t told anything really. I was playing for Otago as an overseas pro this year, and after speaking with the right people I decided to put my name back in the hat for NZ. Luckily for me Ross Taylor had eye surgery during the Bangladesh series and I got my chance!
In both the Volts and the Black Caps, who are the biggest pests in the shed?
Biggest pest in the Volts shed is Sam Wells —he consistently is chopping guys down, and with his law degree believes he has a higher place in society. Black Caps pest has got to be Southee. One of his nicknames is the “pest”.
If you could choose one batsman to bat for your life, who would you choose and why?
Craig Sid Cumming. He’s my Yoda! The power is within him
Final afternoon of the test. The opposition are nine down and it’s the final over. Who, of any bowler you’ve ever played with or against, do you give the ball to?
It’s obviously spitting out of the rough so I’d toss Mark “Pidgeons” Craig the ball. Not only because he’s got the most pure off-spinning action of all time, but he would be desperate to take that wicket as he gets very excited after a test win.
What’s the best feed a ground has ever put on for lunch?
You obviously can’t go past Lords… Different gravy.
Did you play any other sports growing up? If so, did you ever consider them as viable alternatives?
Yeah I was into a lot of sports with my two brothers. I gave rugby a decent crack and had to make a decision over the NZC Academy and the Canterbury Rugby Academy one winter. Chose the cricket path and I remember Rob Penney (Canterbury Coach/Academy Manager) was a tad bemused.
Having played for both Canterbury and Otago, which team has the better chat?
With the arrival of Christi Viljoen and Anaru Kitchen and the departure of my great mate Aaron Redmond, the chat took a turn for the worse but Otago is still the best chat on the domestic circuit!
Everyone knows the famous David Boon story—which player who that shared the dugout with sinks the most piss?
That would easily be Redmond. I hear he’s coming back to Dunners to live so bar owners will be very, very happy.
Obvious follow up—beverage of choice?
If you could combine any three cricketers for the ultimate player, who would they be?
Baz McCullum, Kane Williamson and Punter (Ricky Ponting).
If you could have dinner with any three people, whom would you invite? And would you cook?
Conor McGregor, Will Farrell and my wife Melissa. I’m not cooking, that’s one of the reasons the wifey got the invite! She’d cook her special blue cheese pasta.
Who is the most naturally talented sportsman you’ve played with?
Can’t go past the Golden One! Jeff Wilson.
What’s the funniest story of your career so far?
Been a few! Well… One time in Chennai myself and Redmond went in a 45 min tuk tuk ride to the airport, had a few Speight’s then handed some cash out to the poor; then found ourselves in a paddy wagon and spent a few hours in the concrete padded Chennai Jail. Wasn’t funny at the time though. Especially when old Redders started with the water works!
Are you going to make a Twitter or Facebook account to rival Jimmy Neesham?
I’ve got limited time to dedicate my entire life to social media like Neesh. Prefer to spend it with my wife and three boys.
The classic to finish—what’s your all-time XI of players you’ve played with or against?
I’ll just name a team I played with:
1. Craig Cumming
2. Aaron Redmond
3. Kane Williamson
4. Peter Fulton
5. Brendon McCullum (WK) (C)
6. Chris Cairns
7. Dan Vettori
8. Dougy Tausili
9. Warren McSkimming
10. Shane Bond
11. Trent Boult
12th man: Neil Wagner (he’d hate being left out!)
Neil looks odds-on to maintain a place in the squad for the upcoming tri-series with Bangladesh and Ireland, which will give him a chance to earn a Champion’s Trophy place. All the best, fella!