New Zealand Cricket: The Black Caps

The most popular summer sport in New Zealand is cricket, which is second only to rugby in terms of overall national popularity. Professional cricket in the country is governed by “New Zealand Cricket”, which oversees Test tours and One Day Internationals as well as domestic cricket.

Seven New Zealand domestic teams compete for the “Plunket Shield”, the country’s first-class cricket championship. Other domestic events include tournaments like the one-day Ford Trophy and the HRV Cup.

cricket-166904_960_720Nicknamed the “Black Caps”, the New Zealand national cricket team played its inaugural test match against England in 1930, but didn’t record a win until 1956 against the West Indies. Today, it is one of only ten countries that competes in Test match cricket and is, at the time of writing, situated fifth in ICC Men’s Test Team Rankings.

Positioned fifth in ICC Test Batting Rankings (Spring, 2017) is New Zealander, Kane Williamson, a former player for Gloucestershire and Yorkshire first-class country cricket clubs in England. Kane scored a century in his first Test innings against Bangladesh in November, 2010. Aged only 20, he was the youngest New Zealander to hit a 100 in Test cricket.

The Black caps have performed well at Twenty20 International (T20I) Cricket, in which top ICC teams compete against one another, each team facing 20 overs. A mathematical formula is used to award points to teams after every match. On 13th March 2017, New Zealand were T20I champions on account of holding first position on the ICC T20I rankings board. Among the competing ICC teams are all 10 international Test sides.

A Great Black Cap: Sir Richard Hadlee

Of all New Zealand’s great cricket players, Sir Richard Hadlee is one of the most accomplished. A renowned fast bowler and all-rounder, he was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame in 2009. In an international career spanning 86 Test matches, he took 431 wickets and made 3124 Test runs, including 2 centuries and 15 half-centuries. Hadlee was twice named New Zealand Sportsman of the year (1987 & 1989) as part of the nation’s Halberg Awards.

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