RAJESH KUMAR - Cricket Statisticians
2021 New Zealand Cricket Almanack.

2021 New Zealand Cricket Almanack
Edited by Francis Payne and Ian Smith

A Mower Book
Published by Upstart Press Ltd.

Level 6, BDO Tower,
19-21, Como Street, Takapuna,
Auckland, New Zealand.

ISBN 978-1-99000-23-3

Pages 544

RRP New Zealand $ 55.00)

With the latest New Zealand Cricket Almanack, you are guaranteed to be engrossed by every page, but it is a special treat to go through the section Happenings.

The 74th edition of the New Zealand Cricket Almanack, and the 39th under the current editors, Francis Payne and Ian Smith, finds the Black Caps on top of the World after an unparalleled year in cricket.

Despite the pandemic, New Zealand Cricket delivered a full season of international and domestic cricket. The BLACKCAPS hosted Pakistan, West Indies, Australia and Bangladesh before heading off to England where they defeated the home side in a two-match test series and were victorious in the historic World Test Championship final against India. The WHITE FERNS toured Australia and then had home series against Australia and England.

It was a year to savour for the Black Caps, according to the editors. "As well as winning the Test Championship and being the number one ranked Test side, they were also the top-rated one-day side and were third in Twenty20 rankings. Kane Williamson was the number one Test batsman and New Zealand players were prominent in all player ranking categories."

Of the seven Tests played, New Zealand had won six apart from winning all three One Day Internationals and ten out of 13 result-oriented T20Is. Their only losses during the year were in three Twenty20 games but all those series were won.

Kyle Jamieson, who had taken 37 wickets at an average of just 13 in six Tests in the period under review and 20 wickets at 10 apiece in three matches for Auckland, has been named as player of the year. Kane Williamson was the second player of the year. His five appearances in first-class cricket were all in Test Cricket, aggregating 754 at an average of 107, including 251 against West Indies at Hamilton and 129 at Maunganui and 238 at Christchurch against Pakistan.

Finn Allen, Will O'Donnell and Michael Rae have been named as promising players.

Rich tributes have been paid by the Almanack to John Fulton Reid and John Richard Reid, who died in 2020. The term "colossus" is often used but never more aptly than to describe John Richard Reid's standing in New Zealand cricket. When he retired he held the New Zealand test records for most matches, most matches as captain, most runs, most wickets and most catches (and also stood in as wicketkeeper). His 58 Tests in succession was a world record at the time. Reid never missed a Test match over his 16 years' career.

John Fulton Reid has been described as an accomplished left-handed batsman and later a cricket administrator. He was remembered by his peers as a dependable team-mate who was a great player of spin bowling.

Some of the Happenings covered in the Almanack are:

  • Adam and Liam Beck completed a rare batting double of twins each scoring centuries in the same innings. Playing for Pleasant Point seniors against Celtic in the South Canterbury competition in February, they spearheaded a successful chase in reply to Celtic's 288 for six off their 50 overs. The twins came together at the end of the 12th over, sharing a century partnership. Adam made 103 from 126 balls while Liam ended unbeaten on 113, as Point completed a seven wicket win with two overs to spare to stay top of the Tweedy Cup points table.
  • When Mitchell Santner dismissed Pakistan's Mohammad Abbas in the Test at Bay Oval, it was the first wicket taken by a New Zealand spin bowler in a home test since Santner had dismissed Joe Root at Hamilton the previous season. In between, New Zealand pace bowlers had taken all 96 wickets to fall in tests which also involved India and West Indies.
  • Devon Conway did not manage to carry his bat in his Test debut (he was last man out) against England at Lord's in 2021 but he did become the first player in Test history to be run out for exactly 200. Brian Lara (277 at Sydney in 1992-93) has the highest score by a batsman who was run out while Lou Vincent (224 against Sri Lanka at Wellington in 2004-05) has the New Zealand record. Other players to be dismissed for exactly 200 in a Test are Walter Hammond, Mohsin Khan, David Boon, Steve Waugh, Graeme Smith, Mushfiqur Rahim, Virat Kohli and Ross Taylor.

2021 New Zealand Cricket Almanack is a quality product from Upstart Press Ltd., deserving 100% marks for production, designing, formatting and lay-out of scorecards apart from extraordinary black and white photographs. A veritable mine of information, the Almanack is an invaluable part of cricket enthusiast's kit bag and is the cricket lover's bible of New Zealand Cricket.