Zim cricket ace defies age in  Test debut

> Robson Sharuko

CHRISTCHURCH-IT IS not every day that you see someone make a Test debut above the age of 30 years.

But when they do, you know it has been a long time coming and the individual would be wanting to make an instant impact to make up for the lost time.

New Zealand’s Colin de Grandhomme did exactly the same on his Test debut against Pakistan in Christchurch. The medium paceman ripped the heart out of Pakistan’s top order, as he picked up six wickets to register the best figures by a New Zealander on debut in cricket’s longest format.

A Zimbabwean by birth, Colin de Grandhomme was born on July 22, 1986, in Harare to Laurence de Grandhomme who played for Zimbabwe before they attained Test status.

Lack of opportunities meant de Grandhomme left Zimbabwe in search of greener pastures and arrived in New Zealand, where he started playing first-class cricket for Auckland.

De Grandhomme’s Test career got off to a dream start on Tuesday, as the Zimbabwe-born all-rounder ran through the Pakistan batting order to record the best figures on Test debut by a New Zealand bowler.

“Obviously, I wanted Test cricket, that’s the ultimate,” he said.

“Cricket being cricket, you go through and think you’re going to quit, then find something to make you come back and want it more.

“If I could make a Test team, I’d rather do that than (make) a white ball team.”

Making his way into the Test side after a series of consistent performances in the domestic circuit, de Grandhomme recorded figures of 6/41 to surpass Alex Moir’s 6/155 against England more than half a century ago.

The Auckland all-rounder’s 6-41 from 15.5 overs were the best figures by a New Zealander on debut, beating Moir who took 6-155 in 1951.

De Grandhomme became the eighth Kiwi to take a five-wicket bag on debut, and the first since Doug Bracewell, in 2011.

Sohail Khan was de Grandhomme’s fifth scalp, when he was caught by a diving Tom Latham at mid-wicket late in the second session.

He then nicked out No 11 Rahat Ali for a duck to break Moir’s 65-year-old record.

De Grandhomme said he did not realise he had broken the record at the time, and it was only when somebody mentioned it in the changing room during the tea break that he became aware of the milestone.

“I just tried to put it in the area I wanted to bowl and they [Pakistan] managed to do their bit, so it’s all good,” de Grandhomme said.

The Zimbabwe-born all-rounder admitted to being “quite nervy and emotional” during the anthems, but that eased after he got through his first over.

His stunning debut helped New Zealand roll Pakistan for 133 in 55.5 overs on day two at Christchurch’s Hagley Oval.

Riding on his destructive spell, New Zealand managed to put behind the disappointments of series losses in South Africa and India by skittling Pakistan out for a lowly 133 after electing to field.

The 30-year-old seamer, a surprise selection in the squad, also became the eighth New Zealander to take a five-wicket haul on debut. He repaid the selectors’ faith with a nagging line and length and did just enough off the pitch and through the air to create doubt for Pakistan’s batsmen.

De Grandhomme completed his five-wicket haul, when he had Sohail Khan caught at short midwicket before Misbah’s resistance of 108 balls ended on 31 when caught at mid-off by Kane Williamson off Boult.

The Zimbabwe-born all-rounder then wrapped up the innings when Rahat Ali nicked behind to wicketkeeper BJ Watling for a five-ball duck.

Let us now take a look at de Grandhomme’s journey so far, starting from his days in Zimbabwe to becoming a key figure in the Auckland cricket team:

De Grandhomme represented Zimbabwe in the 2003 Under-19 World Cup, where he played alongside the likes of Brendan Taylor. He represented sides such as Manicaland at provincial level. Among his other memorable knocks is a century for Zimbabwe U-23 team against South Africa’s Eastern Province, in which he hit a patient 109.

Both father Laurence and uncle Bunny played for Zimbabwe, and Colin could have been one of leading players for his country of birth, but the crumbling state of the sport in the country forced him to leave for greener pastures in New Zealand at the age of 20. – Firstsport/New Zealand                                                     Herald

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