To use a cricket metaphor, I wasn’t nervous about being in the 90s. That my weight was approaching a century didn’t deter me from dangling 122 feet high from a rope upside down over the enticingly azure waters of the Pacific. No, I hadn’t suddenly lost my head and decided to jump off the Auckland Harbour Bridge on the spur of the moment.
|Fine Print: FAQs on New Zealand|
How to get there:
Connecting flights to New Zealand are available on Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, Cathay Pacific and Malaysia Airlines with stop-overs in their respective hubs. New Zealand’s international gateways are Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.
Forward your application to the tourism office in Mumbai or Delhi, which will then be directed to the High Commission. A visitor visa for NZ is processed within 15 working days. Visit www.immigration.govt.nz
Within New Zealand:
Fly between all New Zealand cities using domestic air services. Air New Zealand and Jetstar are the main providers, complemented by regional airlines, charter companies and other operators.
As co-host (along with Australia), how has New Zealand prepared for the World Cup?
Seven cities in New Zealand are hosting three games each for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. This includes some important games like the tournament opener, a quarter-final and a semi-final. My job as brand ambassador includes mingling with important guests and appearing in TV commercials.
We recently shot a video where Stephen Fleming and Chris Harris, along with Aussies Damien Fleming and Andy Bichel are playing a game of cricket on the Auckland Harbour Bridge! In the video, the ball goes over the bridge and I happen to be on a sailboat. It lands in the chilling bin and I look up and wonder what on earth is going on up there!
What’s your own favourite World Cup memory?
I enjoyed playing in the first three World Cups. Beginning with 1975, 1979 and 1983, that India won. Watching Clive Lloyd lift the trophy in 1975 – and those were 60-over games – was special. Another wonderful memory was visiting the Buckingham Palace. All the teams stood with the Queen on the stairs and that group photograph was a fantastic memory.
You were knighted in England. People say you were recognised more in that country than in New Zealand for your efforts...
I think I was well recognised in New Zealand during my career. I had an 18-year career, a world record, 400 wickets, all those things. I played in a successful era for New Zealand cricket. The Eighties were a wonderful time.
You mentioned the 400. You’ve reached some significant milestones against India. What made playing against the team special?
The records! (laughs) It is difficult to explain. There are certain players or teams against whom you perform much better than the others. The first time I played against India was at the Basin Reserve in Wellington in 1976. We won that Test match and I created a New Zealand record for most wickets and best bowling in an innings. And in my hometown, at Christchurch, I got my 400th wicket: Sanjay Manjrekar.
Which Indian batsman did you find the toughest to dislodge?
I’ve bowled against some good Indian batsmen. Sunil Gavaskar, of course, and Mohammad Azharuddin, another fine player. I only bowled to Sachin Tendulkar in 1990 for a couple of Test matches. He was about 17. He had a lot of potential, but we did not envision what he would go on to do in international cricket.
Gundappa Viswanath was also a fine player and so was Dilip Vengsarkar. But Gavaskar would have to be in the top 10 of all time. When I look back, Viv Richards has got to be there and so do Gordon Greenidge, David Gower and Greg Chappell.
How far has New Zealand come from the last time you co-hosted the Cup with Australia in 1992?
1992 was new for us. New Zealand has since then hosted many big global events. We did it with rugby in 1987 and 2010 was the last one, that the All Blacks won.
But it has been 23 years since we co-hosted the World Cup with Australia. Since then, the game has gone global because more teams are participating. The participation of Afghanistan in the World Cup, bearing in mind all the difficulties that they face, is the success of the tournament. That to me is the story of the 2015 World Cup.
The writer was hosted by Tourism New Zealand
Follow on Twitter @Aasheesh74
From HT Brunch, February 1
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