Dubai: Kyle Jamieson may be just two Tests old, but the giant New Zealand pace bowler has started showing that he is more than just being one of the tallest cricketers in the history of the game. Standing at 6ft 8ins, he struck when it mattered most with a five-wicket haul to wrap up India’s first innings at a modest 242 in the second Test at Christchurch’s Hagley Oval.
Starting with Indian opener Prithvi Shaw, Jamieson then induced an edge from ‘Mr Dependable’ Cheteshwar Pujara and then plucked out the Indian lower order with wickets of Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja and Umesh Yadav after tea to step out of the shadows of his famous teammates in the same trade – Trent Boult and Tim Southee. And this comes on the back of his sensational debut in the first Test at Basin Reserve, when he scalped four wickets in India’s first innings including captain Virat Kohli.
Jamieson is the third tallest cricketer ever to play at international level, the two ahead of him being Ireland’s Boyd Rankin and Pakistan’s Mohammad Irfan. Joel Garner, the ‘Big Bird’ of West Indies, was around the same height as Jamieson while others who walked as tall as them being Bruce Reid and Peter George.
While such a height helps a fast bowler to hit the deck and create an awkward bounce, it does not necessarily help in generating extra pace – while it can render the bowler somewhat injury prone. Jamieson, who operated around the 130-135kph range in the first Test, wants to improve in that area to bowl faster.
“Yeah, for sure,” he said in reference to adding to his pace. “I’m still a long way off [from] where I want to be as a bowler and as a cricketer. The stuff that I started to work on with Auckland, with Heinrich [Malan], I think in the next year or so, I’m going to make massive strides,” the soft-spoken bowler told the ICC website.
Now 25, Jamieson had started as a batsman and it was only at the advice of the then Under-19 New Zealand coach Dayle Hadlee (one of the famous Hadlee brothers who had served the ICC Global Academy in Dubai as coach in its formative years) that he focused on fast bowling as a primary skill.
“I was pretty much a batter all through high school and then made the New Zealand U-19s, and Dayle Hadlee got a hold of me and told me to run in, which kind of shifted me towards becoming more of a bowler,” Jamieson said. “I always liked batting, it was probably what I grew up admiring the most - whilst I did bowl, I did not think of that as my career option growing up. Now I’m a bowler who can bat, trying to get to the allrounder stage, that’s where I ideally want to be.”
His familiarity with the Hagley Oval must have played its role behind his 5-45 on Saturday. “I spent five or six years down there, pretty familiar with the ground. It’s always going to be special, it played such a big part in the start of my journey, it will be nice to be back in that change room,” he said on the eve of the Test.
It must have been certainly nice after first day’s play, with the hosts having their tails up.