New Zealand cricket has often been appreciated for their demeanour on the cricket field. Their current skipper Kane Williamson leads by example and has garnered accolades as his career has progressed. Their cricket has also been blessed with the Spirit of Cricket Award for their sportsmanship.
Their attitude after losing the final of the 2019 World Cup impressed one and all. Even Virat Kohli, the Indian skipper, lauded Williamson and the Kiwis for their humble approach towards the sport in India’s recent tour of New Zealand.
The positivity has also rubbed off positively on the U19 team as was seen in the World Cup in South Africa. But amidst their glorious run, they also had to bear the brunt of a handful of unwanted controversies, albeit far and few between.
In the article, let’s take a look at five controversies in New Zealand cricket: –
1. Jesse Ryder’s drinking addiction
Jesse Ryder’s affiliation to drinking has caused New Zealand cricket headaches. Back in 2008, the southpaw got tangled in an unwanted occurring after he tried to break the window of a toilet in a bar in Christchurch. In the very next year, NZC put forth a statement, saying that Jesse had given up alcohol.
His teammates, including Ross Taylor, tried to help him get rid of the habit, but to no avail. In 2013, Ryder was attacked outside out a bar and it put him in coma. Due to the incidents, Ryder’s career for the Black Caps could never kick off despite him being a bright prospect.
In March 2020, the left-hander admitted guilty of drink-driving with more than three times the alcohol limit. His breath recorded a reading of 873 micrograms per litre of breath with the legal limit being 250mcg.
2. Scott Kuggelejin’s controversy
Scott Kuggelejin, the Kiwi all-rounder, had a controversial journey in 2019. He was a part of the national squad in the T20Is against Sri Lanka and India. Scott lived up to the expectations, but had to face the wrath of the public to some extent.
The same was for the reason that he had undergone a couple of rape trials in 2016 and 2017. The first jury couldn’t decide whether he was indeed guilty. But the second jury found Kuggelejin not guilty of the rape charges and he resumed his duties for New Zealand.
When he was plying his trade on the field, a few sections of the crowd used banners, protesting against his participation in national colours. Throwing light on the alleged rape incident at his flat in 2015, Scott said that he texted her, apologizing for the mental harm he had caused her.
3. Ross Taylor, Brendon McCullum’s topsy-turvy relationship
Ross Taylor and Brendon McCullum’s story remains to be a controversial chapter in New Zealand cricket. It all began when NZC was looking for a skipper after the retirement of left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori. Both Baz and Taylor were experienced and were asked to present their ideas.
In the end, Taylor was chosen, but McCullum in his book wrote that there were flaws in the process. But under Taylor, the Black Caps went into a rabbit hole. The idea of split captaincy also came to the fore with McCullum taking charge of the limited-overs sides and Taylor as the Test skipper.
But after Taylor refused, Baz was made the captain across formats. The decision worked wonders for the Black Caps as they went on to play their maiden final of the 50-over World Cup at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground.
4. Chris Cairns match-fixing saga
Chris Cairns will go down as one of the greatest all-rounders New Zealand cricket has produced. However, December 2013 saw a massive development in his glorious career. He was alleged of match-fixing when he was the captain of the Chandigarh Lions in the scrapped Indian Cricket League (ICL).
Lou Vincent, another former Kiwi, said that Cairns had approached him for fixing matches. Brendon McCullum also agreed to testify against the all-round cricketer. In 2010, Lalit Modi, the former IPL commissioner, posted on Twitter that Cairns had fixed matches back in 2008.
In March 2012, Cairns won the costs and damages, after getting Modi sued. On November 30, 2015, the now 49-years-old Cairns was cleared of the charges of perjury and perverting the course of justice.
5. A controversial day in the 2003 World Cup
It happened during the 2003 World Cup in the African continent. The Black Caps were scheduled for a match against Kenya in Nairobi. But before the contest, a bomb blast took place in Mombasa and the New Zealand management showed their hesitancy to tour.
Subsequently, they requested the ICC to relocate the match, but couldn’t convince them. The Kiwis finally decided not to tour Nairobi. Kenya were given a walkover and they managed to qualify for the Super Six and then the semis where they lost to India.
For the Kiwis, four points were forfeited. New Zealand couldn’t move beyond the Super Six stage though after losing four out of five games in the round. In the break time a few of their players visited Durban where they also performed at a night-club named ‘Tiger Tiger’.
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