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Hamish Marshall: A promising New Zealand career sacrificed for playing county

Hamish Marshall © Getty Images
Hamish Marshall played 66 ODIs and 13 Tests for New Zealand © Getty Images

Born on February 15, 1979, Hamish Marshall was one of the few talented players blooded early into international cricket by the New Zealand selectors. He also has a twin brother in James Marshall. Abhijit Banare looks back at the highlights of Marshall’s career.



Let’s start with the most interesting trivia about Hamish Marshall. In the contemporary era, after the Waugh brothers, there are only the Marshalls who are remembered as the twins to have played cricket. Although there were nine others before them which included the famous Bedser brothers. However, Hamish and brother John were the first identical twins to play men’s Test cricket. Hamish, born in Auckland started off early at the Under-19 levels and played for New Zealand’s Under-19 team in 1998 in the World Cup match against Sri Lanka.

Debut

Marshall made his debut for New Zealand in Tests in the final match of the series against South Africa at Johannesburg. He was up against the likes of Shaun Pollock, an in-form Makhaya Ntini and Jacques Kallis. While the rest of the New Zealand setup was bundled out, Marshall fought hard for his unbeaten 40 runs, batting at No 7. His 121-ball stay at the crease impressed many. Hamish himself calls it as the most memorable part of his career, as it took him close to an hour to get off the mark. But New Zealand didn’t pick him for next three years.

 

It led to Hamish missing out on a crucial part of his career, as he missed three years of his career. Before the Test return, Marshall made his ODI debut in November 2003 when New Zealand toured Pakistan for a five-match-One-Day International (ODI) series. Marshall struck an impressive half-century in his first match scoring 55. In his third ODI, he hit an unbeaten 109-ball 101, but it required a much more aggressive innings, as New Zealand could muster just 263 in chase of 315.

Marshall’s stroke-filled innings made him a permanent member of the New Zealand ODI setup. He didn’t disappoint much, as he scored three more half-centuries in the next six matches against the same opposition. Pakistan toured New Zealand right after they hosted one. This time around, the Kiwis won the series 4-1.

Hamish Marshall © Getty Images
Hamish Marshall celebrates his century against Australia © Getty Images

Best performance

Marshall’s form in the ODIs meant that his test recall wasn’t far away. He finally made a Test comeback in October 2004 against Bangladesh and once again, made a mark straightaway with an innings of 69. Fleming’s double ton in that match ensured that New Zealand won by an innings. However, the big innings from Marshall came in his next Test at Christchurch against Australia, where he scored 146. It was a brave innings from Marshall, crafted maturely against a formidable bowling attack involving Jason Gillespie, Glenn McGrath, Shane Warne and Michael Kasprowicz. Marshall’s ton helped New Zealand put on 343 on board. He was eventually bowled by Warne. A second innings collapse meant that Australia ambled across for a victory.

Marshall’s dismissal in the second innings turned out to be a memorable one not for the batsman but the bowler — Warne. It was a typical Warne dismissal, bowling round the wicket and the batsman covering the leg-stump and the stumps in disarray. It was Warne’s 1,000th First-Class wicket. Warne became the 11th bowler to achieve such a feat.

Hamish Marshall (left) and James Marshall
Hamish Marshall (left) and James Marshall were the first identical twins to play in men’s Test cricket © Getty Images

Marshall’s career best Test performance came against Sri Lanka, where he scored 160 and stitched a fine partnership with his brother, James Marshall who scored 55. The brothers had first played together in February 2005 against Australia in Auckland.

In 2005, Marshall was also part of the first ever Twenty20 International (T20I) match played. Australia and New Zealand clashed at Auckland in a high-scoring encounter. His successful run in 2005 ensured that along with Daniel Vettori, Marshall became New Zealand Cricket’s Almanack Player of the Year as well.
The BCCI diktat on Marshall’s inclusion

During India’s tour of New Zealand in 2009, The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), withdrew Sachin Tendulkar and Dinesh Karthik’s participation in a T20 exhibition match because Marshall, an Indian Cricket League (ICL) player was part of it. This move created a lot of bad blood between the respective boards. Marshall played for the Royal Bengal Tigers (RBT) in the ICL.

Move to Gloucestershire

Marshall was part of the ICC World Cup 2007 squad as well. However, he gave up a central contract with New Zealand to play full time for Gloucestershire. By 2011, Marshall hoped to play for Ireland in the World Cup. Marshall’s Irish passport even allowed him to play for Ireland. The sticky issue here was, if Marshall took up an England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) contract, his finances playing for Gloucestershire would be funded by the England board. This complication put the Ireland Cricket Association (ICA) members in a fix. Hamish has been a fine player for the county team though. His good run saw his contract extended with Gloucestershire till 2016.

Marshall has played 66 ODIs for New Zealand 1454 runs at an average of 27.43, in Tests he 62 runs at 38.35 in 13 Tests.

(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed on Twitter and blog)

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