Hello Folks! Guess who joins me in this week’s #BlabWithSandy? If you are a 90s cricket fan, this would be a precious moment to capture. Its none other than the New Zealand ex-captain cum all-rounder Dion Nash. 🙂
I grew up watching him play some of the most amazing matches for his country. I grew up admiring his attacking attitude as a captain. I grew up seeing his tremendous aura on the field. Lets wait no further and dive into the exciting blab I had with Nash:
Sandy: Hellooooo to you from the other part of the World!
Nash: Hey Sandy! What’s up?
Sandy: This feels wonderfully insane. I have interviewed quite a few people but, catching up with you gives a different high. You were an integral part of my childhood cricketing days and now, blabbing with you about the sport is insane. Hahaha!
Nash: Ha-ha! Nice to know buddy.
Sandy: Could you throw some Yorkers on your background?
Nash: 🙂 I grew up in a small town in NZ. It hardly had 5000 people. I went to the Auckland Secondary School and, pursued Arts and Sociology in my higher studies (to please my parents, ha-ha). Somehow, I started liking the subjects that I picked!
On the side lines, I kept playing cricket vigorously. I wanted to make a mark and my perseverance paved way for me to represent my country in Under-19.
Sandy: How was your first-time experience in representing NZ?
Nash: I still remember the day when I toured India for the first time in 1991-92 for an Under-19 tournament. The team had the likes of Stephen Fleming, Matt Hart, Geoff Lawson, Heath Davis, and others in it.
The Indian U-19 team was led by Rahul Dravid. It was played at Vizag (Visakhapatnam). Oh my god, I still remember the ground. We could see the Indian fielders diving happily but, when our turn came, we were all bruised up by the end of the day. The ground had no grass at all, Lol! We weren’t used to such grounds.
Sandy: Ha-ha-ha! Well, it was the same ground where I made my entry into district cricket in Under-15. I agree, that ground had very limited grass on it. So, a few anecdotes on making your debut for New Zealand in an era which had many greats playing the game. 🙂
Nash: Ah! I feel luck to have played in that era. I consider it to be a last sort of era in cricket before commercialization stepped in! Those were the times where Test match scenes were far more interesting.
It was the era of Curtly Ambrose, Courtney Walsh, Allan Donald, Shaun Pollock, Brian Lara, Makhaya Ntini, Brett Lee, Mc Grath, Gillespie, etc. I started my journey along with Merv Hughes, Craig McDermott, and other big names.
Each of the teams were very good during those times. Even the Indian team had wonderful players like Sachin, Ganguly, Azhar, Jadeja, and other. It was a great era indeed Sandy.
Sandy: You were the first player in the history of cricket to scalp ten-wickets and score 50 runs in a match played at the ‘home of cricket’, Lords in the year 1994. Isn’t that awesome? 🙂
Nash: Ha-ha! Oh yeah, definitely. It always felt nice to have those games. I arrived into the international scene with some major performances. I came probably a bit too young I guess. 🙂 I had my share of injuries and I hadn’t worked out by body much during those days.
Major injuries did become a major part of my career. The last five years of career were much better. As a team, we all gelled well and the culture to win matches got to us.
Sandy: You also captained the side during Stephen Fleming’s absence. How was the experience of leading the NZ team?
Nash: It was an honor to captain the Blackcaps. We had great games and I tried to lead the team in an aggressive manner. I helped Stephen Fleming become more aggressive once he was back to the side as a captain. I am proud of the way I played, both as a captain and as a player.
Sandy: Suddenly, you vanished from the cricketing scenes in 2002. Not that you were in bad form, you were doing extremely well. What was the reason for your moving away from cricket?
Nash: I had already been around for 10 years. I had my fair share of injuries and they were visiting me again and again during my tenure. I tried hard but, one fine day it got me that I had no more energy left to overcome my injuries.
I wasn’t enjoying the support that I was getting and had my odds with New Zealand Cricket. Apart from my injuries, my attitude towards game was so serious that, not able to overcome my injuries made my grumpy.
Sandy: How was it playing against India? Any fond memories? 🙂
Nash: It was fun! I remember scoring a half century against you guys (India) at Wellington. I and Daniel Vettori had a very good season against India. Playing alongside the likes of Sachin, Sourav, Dravid, Laxman, and others was quite interesting.
Sandy: You turned into a National Selector for New Zealand. How different was that role for you?
Nash: I enjoyed being a selector. I always feel, the selectors and coaches need to be on the same page. In my time, I worked with Sir Richard Hadlee, Glen Turner and John Bracewell and I just loved the process.
We could have developed better reports. It’s a job which can be done much better if given a second chance, ha-ha! I loved my opportunity to work with older players.
Quick Shot Round:
- 3 am friends in cricket: ha-ha! None
- Laziest cricketer during your time: LOL! My Gosh, it must be Chris Cairns
- Toughest batsman that you bowled to in the nets: Good question. 🙂 Stephen Fleming!
- Favorite Indian bowler(s): Javagal Srinath, he has a big heart. Zaheer Khan
- You enjoyed bowling the most to: Sachin Tendulkar! He was the best player and bowling to him made me a better player
- New Zealand’s bowlers that you like in the current crop: Trent Boult and Tim Southee
- Sledging: Ha-ha! I remember facing Brett Lee at Brisbane. He was very quick, and I had Gilchrist, Warne, Mark Waugh, Steve Waugh and Hayden surrounding me in the field. All were sledging, and mouths were working, ha-ha! The interesting part was, Brett Lee was the fastest at that time and, the fielders stood much behind the actual positions to encounter his pace. They were so back that I could not hear what they were sledging about, LOL! But, I would rather face sledging than facing such fast bowlers 🙂
- Biggest regret in life: Getting injured many a times. I do not really have regrets. I toured many countries and visited India six times, such a beautiful thing!
- Which of your team mates would have been a perfect fit to the T20 format? Chris Cairns, Craig McMillan and Nathan Astle. Their style of play would have matched perfectly
- If you were to go on a road trip with 2 yesteryear cricketers, whom would you pick? Brian Lara, and your guy Venkatapahy Raju, ha-ha, I gelled well with Raju.
- The Indian players that you were close to: Rahul Dravid, such a good man. Ajay Jadeja was always a character while Azhar was pleasant. I had the most fun with Srinath and Raju
Sandy: Do you miss being part of the T20 format? And, I still remember, New Zealand had started a 10 or a 13 over format called “Maxx Cricket”, am I right? And, you played against India as a starter which one of our most strong Test openers Shiv Sunder Das playing that format. 🙂
Nash: Oh yeah, ha-ha-ha! Lovely that you remember it, you must be a true-blue cricket fan. Yes, I did play Maxx cricket, it was a fun game. It was Martin Crowe’s brainchild. It was an unique experience which did not go through after that series.
And, I do not think I miss being part of T20 format. I feel happy to have enjoyed the precious 90s era. :)I feel the current generation has missed watching our cricket. Nowadays its all about other things in abundance while during our time, it was all just about cricket.
Sandy: Nice to learn! After your sporting career, you founded a skincare company called Triumph & Disaster and, you are its Director. A few anecdotes on it.
Nash: Its my full-time job Sandy, ha-ha! It’s all for men’s skincare and grooming products, for the masculine look. We used to play under extreme heat conditions worldwide and tan ourselves. Never really gave importance to one’s skin, which I think we should have!
My company offers advice and products in a wide range for men. The business is growing by many folds and I am happy about it. Let me know if you need any product, okay? LOL!
Sandy: Ha-ha-ha! I will for sure. So, what else is happening for you currently?
Nash: My 12-year old son plays cricket and I keep watching him and coaching his team. Patience was never my best buddy, ha-ha, so I ask the youngsters to show some patience in their cricket.
Sandy: Your thoughts on New Zealand’s performance in the recently concluded World Cup?
Nash: Ah! The Kiwis played well in the league games. Once a team reaches the semi-finals, it’s a different ball game altogether. Any team can win it on their day and I feel New Zealand were brilliant against India.
As for the finals, I feel empty, and a bit cheated. I agree that the rules were formed before the tournament started but, it’s the mindset behind it which requires a change. Least number of wickets lost needs to be given more credit.
Sandy: I agree on that front! We come to the end of the interview. Before parting, a few words about Hyderabad Local
Nash: Thanks for featuring me Sandy! It was a pleasure blabbing with you about yesteryear cricket. Wishing you the best in whatever you do. Hope to catch you soon!
Editor’s note: It was an immense pleasure blabbing with one of my cricketing favorites, Dion Nash! Wishing him many more wonderful spells in his life, filled with yorkers and big hits. 🙂
Interview by Sandeep Rao