Photo Credit: Facebook Profile Photo of New Zealand Over-40s Cricket
International over-40s cricket hits Christchurch this month, with Australia visiting for a three-match series against New Zealand.
The three over-40s internationals (O40Is) will be played at Hagley Nursery Ground and Mainpower Oval, Rangiora between February 21st and 24th.
Before that, both teams will play warm-up matches against New Zealand A, on February 19 and 20 – all matches are free entry and begin at 11:00am.
The games will also be live-streamed and live-scored, with details on the New Zealand Over-40s Facebook page.
While the over-50s and other age groups are now well-established, this over-40s series represents the first ever international over-40s cricket played anywhere in the world.
There is both a trophy and Trans-Tasman glory up for grabs, but the big carrot for players is a spot in the 18-man squad that will travel to Pakistan in September for the first ever Over-40s World Cup.
That tournament will feature 14 international teams, following the same model as the Over-50s World Cup, which has been held twice already.
The New Zealand sides were chosen based on an eight-team national tournament held in Blenheim in November, which attracted the best over-40s players from around the country.
Among the players in the New Zealand side are the Marshall twins, Hamish and James.
James Marshall, who played seven Tests and 10 ODIs for New Zealand, with a highest score of 161, expressed his pride in representing his country once again.
“I think for anyone representing their country in any sport at any level it’s a great honour,” said James.
“For me, to do it again at the age of 44 is a thrill, playing with a group of lads that are very skilful.”
Brother James, who played 13 Tests and 66 ODIs, shared the same sentiment.
“Anytime you get to wear the silver fern is very special – it’s an opportunity to perform for your country and be competitive again,” said Hamish.
“I’m sure Australia will bring plenty of tough aggressive cricket to the series, which will be great to take on!”
New Zealand captain, Peter Connell, played 13 ODIs and nine T20Is for Ireland, and was confident about his team’s chances.
“I think we have assembled an incredibly talented squad – our batting looks stacked and the players are all highly skilled operators,” said Connell.
“I know there are a few disappointed A-team players looking to stake a claim also, so it should be an exciting week of cricket.”
The Australian team was selected following their first ever National Championships in December and includes several highly credentialled players, including former Sri Lankan international Suresh Perera, who now resides in Perth.
The Australian captain, Brian May, played many years of first-grade cricket in the tough Brisbane competition.
For May, the series represents a great opportunity to represent his country.
“To represent your country is an honour and one that doesn’t come along often,” said May.
“Doesn’t matter what age you are, it’s still a very proud occasion.”
The New Zealand A team has plenty to play for – as 18 players are to be named for the World Cup and only 14 in the New Zealand squad to play for Australia, NZ A members will be pushing hard to impress the selectors.
New Zealand A’s matches are against New Zealand on February 19 at Hagley Nursery Ground and against Australia at Mainpower on February 20.
The O40Is are on February 21 (Mainpower), February 23 and February 24 (both at Hagley Nursery).
New Zealand squad:
Peter Connell (captain), Nigel Collins, Darren Cudby, Vishal Dube, Adam Hastilow, Steve Hobson, Deepak Joon, Todd McDonald, Scott Marra, Hamish Marshall, James Marshall, Ben Rapson, Hardeep Singh, Paddy Sullivan.
Brian May (captain), Ash Hardy, Steven Baker, Danny Bhatra, Chris Dickson, Jeff Hemming, Trevor Irvine, Scott Jarvis, Kish Nadesan, Suresh Perera, Joseph Price, Dave Prosser, Dane Stevenson, Richie Wyld.
New Zealand A squad:
James Mackie (captain), Marc Calkin, Beau Dench, Jason Grobler, Ryan Jacobs, Byron Jollivet, Andrew McCaa, Leighton Parsons, Nick Smith, Nuwan Weerasooriya, Sean Windle, Jeremy Wylie.