Sportsfreak takes us deep inside the world of a kiwi superstar.
Townsville to Sydney. The red dust. Then to Hong Kong, probably somewhere after that, and then to Johannesburg. And next week he’s in India for the Champions League.
A strange couple of weeks for Aaron Redmond, but then his whole career has been pretty different.
It’s in the blood. Father Rodney famously scored a century and fifty on debut, only to never play another test. To make matters worse, he was dropped in favour of John Parker, masquerading as an opener too.
No wonder he soon shipped himself off to Perth, and this was where Aaron grew up.
But, out of the blue, at the end of 1999 NZ Cricket gave him a contract and brought him back to play for Canterbury and the Southern Conference team (remember them?) as a free scoring middle-order batsman and, more importantly, a leg-spinner. This was before he had even played a first class game.
New Zealand had a bit of a fixation with acquiring a leg-spinner at the time; his arrival came in between the Brooke Walker and Greg Loveridge eras.
He fitted into Christchurch well, and used to entertain new boys in his Lancaster Park Woolston club side by sneaking up behind them and placing a part of his body on their shoulder. If there’s one part of the country where that is perfectly acceptable behaviour.
Problem was that he wasn’t getting any runs and had lost confidence with his bowling. The first class games were drying up so he decided to move south to Otago. And while he was about it he thought he’d try his luck as an opener, and give up the risky shots while he was about it. After all, it had worked for Mark Richardson.
It took a while, but he finally got some consistency to his game, with an opener’s temperament to match. And it was probably more on the back of this temperament, and Bell’s loss of form, that got him picked for the 2008 tour of England. After all, a 1st class batting average of around 30 does not normally do the trick.
He scored runs at will in the county games, but struggled in the tests. And the struggles were slow ones too. 54 runs in 6 innings, off 180 balls.
He did get 79 in Bangladesh, but it was off 237 balls and , really, it was Bangladesh. He had lost confidence in where to score runs at this level and were it not for the fact that Jamie How was going no better at the other end would probably have been dropped for Australia.
He was roughed up and the rumour mill, and Martin Crowe, was that Adelaide had to be his last test. So the other Redmond took over; the Redmond that took the attack to the bowlers, the Redmond that hit Hauritz for 16 off his first over, and he was NZ’s top scorer in the match.
It was too late though; he was dropped for the West Indian visit that followed, his successor scored a century, and is seemed that his test career was over. And a test career with a bowling average of 20; something that Vettori could only dream of.
So Redmond went back to provincial cricket. He had obviously enjoyed himself in Adelaide so totally redefined the way he batted, except that he was still an opener.
Accordingly, most of his success was in T20 cricket. He was the biggest contributor to Otago’s dominance in that competition. They were clearly the best team and he was clearly their best batsman as they earned their meal ticket to the Champions League windfall. Warren McSkimming and Matthew Harvie have a lot to thank him for.
So a job well done then; off to England to play some pub cricket. While down the road New Zealand were playing in the T20 World Cup, and Jesse Ryder was getting rushed to hospital.
Why not send a text to Vettori? “I am in England and available if needed”.
A couple of days he was in Nottingham and scoring 63 off 30 balls for New Zealand. Brilliant.
He was still on the outer for the next few months, and was last week in Townsville preparing for the Champions League. Then Ryder got injured, presumably a text message was sent, and the Round the World challenge commenced.
He didn’t quite make it for the England game, but given the lack of success of the Gareth Hopkins as a Specialist Batsman experiment he has to get a run in the semi-final this weekend.
So another change of role, and in so doing loses his unique status of the only player to have a short version and long version cap without the one in the middle.
Watch this space, because none of it will be predictable. Apart from the Air Miles.