Who says you have to fly the stars in from all over the world
if you want to be competitive?
In these modern days of the highly-paid cricket mercenary,
Otago is bucking the trend and reminding the world how far
you can get on a little provincial pride.
The Volts, with one very notable exception, are basically a
bunch of locals come good. Otago has won 14 consecutive games
of twenty/20 cricket, including its past four Champions
League matches. It will be hoping to keep the streak alive
when it plays the Highveld Lions (South Africa) in Jaipur
late tomorrow night (New Zealand time).
Remarkably, seven of the 15 squad members honed their skills
playing cricket for various Dunedin schools.
The prodigiously talented McCullum brothers - Brendon and
Nathan - went to King's High School and grew up in South
Dunedin. Who knows how many sixes they flogged over the back
fence at the family home in Waterloo St?Batsman Michael
Bracewell and spinner Nick Beard went to Kavanagh College,
Hamish Rutherford and Sam Wells went to Otago Boys' High
School, and James McMillan went to John McGlashan College.
What a treat it must be for their old coaches to watch them
competing against - and beating - the best in the world.
Of the remaining eight players, most have made a life in
Ian Butler transferred from Northern Districts in 2008-09 to
reinvigorate his career and has built a house here.
Neil Broom, who whacked an incredible undefeated 117 in the
huge win over the Perth Scorchers earlier this week, also
lives in Dunedin. He transferred south from Canterbury in
Batsman Aaron Redmond is in his 10th season for Otago, and
regular captain Derek de Boorder transferred from Auckland in
South African-born left-armer Neil Wager moved to Dunedin in
2009 in a bid to qualify for New Zealand and also owns a home
in the city.
Spinner Mark Craig has been in the province for at least five
years and flats with Beard in St Clair.
All-rounder Jimmy Neesham is still an Aucklander - but give
Star all-rounder Ryan ten Doeschate is the only real ring-in.
But the South African-born Dutch international told the Otago
Daily Times he plans to return to New Zealand and play for
Otago again this summer.
We are not saying Otago is taking the moral high ground. Had
imports Brett Lee (Australia) and James Fuller (England) been
available, they would have been selected.
But it is nice to see a team which truly represents the
region. It ignites passion and that old us-against-them
mentality which is so intertwined with sport.
Brendon and Nathan McCullum (King's High School), Michael
Bracewell and Nick Beard (Kavanagh College), Hamish
Rutherford and Sam Wells (Otago Boys' High School), James
McMillan (John McGlashan College), Aaron Redmond (10th season
with Otago), Neil Broom (ninth season), Derek de Boorder
(seventh season), Ian Butler (sixth season), Neil Wagner
(sixth season), Mark Craig (sixth season), James Neesham
(third season), Ryan ten Doeschate (South African-born Dutch