Colin Munro hits out during the T20 tour match between
South Africa A and New Zealand in Pietermaritzburg. (Photo
by Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
Give the New Zealand selectors a pat on the back. They
haven't had many of late, but the choice of Colin Munro for the
Twenty20 series in South Africa deserves to be acknowledged.
Why? Because they've picked a player who is in form, rather
than echo that old line about "let's see if he backs it up
again next season".
And not only Munro. Auckland's left-arm quick Mitchell
McClenaghan, Northern Districts' Corey Anderson, fit after a
dispiriting run of injury issues, and Otago's Jimmy Neesham
are young men being given an opportunity. In Munro's case,
numbers paint a picture.
He heads the aggregates and averages in the Plunket Shield
this season, his overall first-class figures are good and you
can imagine that for the man who came to New Zealand at 15,
from Durban, seeking cricket success, to be back in the land
of his birth for his adopted country, well, life doesn't get
much better right now.
It hasn't been entirely plain sailing for the pugnacious
He had a taste of top domestic cricket in 2006-07 but didn't
last long. So he headed to Adelaide, spent time at the West
Torrens club and when he returned was a different
"I wanted to learn a little more about my game, play in
different conditions, get away and put a bit of pressure on
myself," he said at the time. "Before I went away I was just
a guy who'd come in and try and smash it from ball one. That
[Adelaide] taught me to try and build an innings."
It was not long before he locked down a place, and a
reputation as a white ball guy. Fine in the shorter stuff,
but a big question mark hovered over his first-class
That got sorted out, once and for all you'd think, in the
last few weeks.
There was 103 against Central Districts before the biggie,
269 not out off only 252 balls against Wellington, when he
shared a 377-run sixth wicket stand with fellow South
African-born batsman Craig Cachopa.
It was the second highest score by an Auckland batsman in
first-class cricket, Auckland's sixth-wicket record against
anyone and the fourth highest in all first-class cricket for
Munro made a telling statement that night: the next game
against Otago was to his mind crucially important. He had to
back up the big double, reinforce that he could bat time. He
didn't want people muttering about one-hit wonders. So he
made 57 and 118. Then came the call to the national team for
the first leg in South Africa early tomorrow.
"He's been picked at the right time and, looking at it from
his side, I'm really pleased," Auckland captain Gareth
Hopkins said yesterday (Thursday). "There's no better time to
be playing and testing yourself than coming off the form he's
There is a bristling quality to Munro's batting, and although
acknowledging there will be times it won't come off, Hopkins
hopes he retains his attacking intent.
"That's his natural way of playing and I don't think he'll
Auckland plan to throw more responsibility Munro's way.
Hopkins tips him as a long-term No5 batsman for Auckland.
"He's a matchwinner, we've always known that, but he's done
quite a bit of work this year in understanding his game. In
the past, he's come pretty hard when batting in his
competitiveness against opponents.
"He's toned that down a little bit, concentrated on the ball
and going for longer periods. Now he's proved he can do
The 26-year-old Munro, who got married earlier this year,
likes a bit of banter and he can expect a bit of that from
the South Africans.
But if he can back the faith shown in him, this short visit
to his homeland could come to be seen as a landmark trip in
Munro's development as an international cricketer.
- David Leggat of the New Zealand Herald