Otago overseas player James Fuller gets in some fielding
practice at the University Oval yesterday. Photo by Craig
It is always nice when New Zealanders working abroad help
each other out.
That was not James Fuller's intention when he inadvertently
helped Scott Styris smash a 37-ball century during a County
twenty/20 fixture last year.
The Otago import and Gloucestershire professional bowled what
is believed to be the most expensive over in the history of
twenty/20 cricket when Styris plundered 38 runs from what
ended up an eight-ball over during a quarterfinal of the
Friends Life T20 tournament in July.
It was a nightmare over for the 22-year-old and one he will
probably never live down. The footage was immediately posted
on the internet, of course, and has proved popular, with more
than 140,000 views.
Watching it, it is hard to imagine how Styris did anything to
help Fuller's career.
But the strapping opening bowler believes it was a valuable
''It is one of those experiences which push you on so it
never happens again,'' he said.
''You have to go back to the drawing board and figure out
what went wrong and put into action a plan to make sure you
don't repeat it.''
Fuller said he spoke with some statisticians after the game
and the general consensus was it was the highest number of
runs conceded from one over in a twenty/20 match.
It is a dubious record but things have gone much better for
the British passport holder since he linked up with the Otago
team last month. He has been instrumental in helping the
Volts win six games on the trot with some impressive bowling
It has not always gone to plan, of course. Twenty/20 is a
batsman's game, after all, but Fuller bowled a superb
penultimate over during the dramatic one-run win against
Canterbury in Timaru last month and was the pick of the
bowlers in the 13-run win against Auckland in Queenstown on
While Fuller has honed his craft playing for Gloucestershire
in the county system, Otago can claim some of the credit for
developing the player.
Fuller was born in Cape Town but moved with his family to New
Zealand when he was 2. The family eventually settled in
Auckland and Fuller moved to Dunedin to attend the University
of Otago. He played for three clubs while he was here - the
now defunct Pelichet Bay, Albion and University-Grange.
He was on the cusp of the Otago side and played two
first-class games for the province in 2009-10 before shifting
to England to take up a three-year contract with
Gloucestershire. He has extended the deal by a year and
remains committed to chasing his dream of playing
That will not be for the Black Caps, though. He hopes to
qualify for England and believes his career is best served by
playing in the county system.
Fuller has kept in contact with Otago since shifting and
approached the association about playing some twenty/20
matches this season. He was in the country anyway, to play
club cricket in Auckland and spend some time with his family,
and it made sense to get in some serious cricket. He is
available only for the twenty/20 campaign, though.
''I don't want to do too much, because it is my off-season
and I want to focus on strength and trying to get rid of
niggles before next season.''
Otago is two wins, or possibly one win, away from securing a
home venue for the final. A win against Wellington in the
capital on Friday will go a long way towards achieving that.
Wellington is in second place and opener Jesse Ryder has been
in belligerent form. He is the tournament's leading scorer
with 417 runs at and average of 59.57 and a strike rate of
Fuller and 18-year-old Jacob Duffy have the job of removing
the dangerous left-hander before he gets set.
''He is a pretty big hitter. You bowl balls which you think
are good ones and he hits them out of the park. It puts you
on the back foot and makes you think about other options.
''It is pretty hard to bowl to a guy like him in his sort of
Otago had a comprehensive 82-run win against Wellington at
the University Oval last month and the Volts attack managed
to limit the damage Ryder could do by bowling wide and full.
Otago has been playing consistent cricket and the camp is
riding a wave of confidence, Fuller said.
''I don't think I've ever been involved with a team which has
won six games in a row in any format. We've kind of dominated
a few teams and we've been put in situations where it looked
like we would lose and we've managed to win.
''There is a great feeling at the moment ... and we're all
excited about how it is going and where we could go.''
Wellington Cricket is believed to be close to brokering a
deal that would see West Indian super-bat Chris Gayle turning
out in two T20 games in the capital this weekend, The New
Zealand Herald reports.
Gayle is currently plying his trade for the Sydney Thunder
and Wellington hopes to get him across for its HRV Cup
showdown against Otago on Friday, and Sunday's meeting with