CLT20 2013: Neil Broom’s heroics against Perth Scorchers should bring him back into New Zealand reckoning

Neil Broom scored an unbeaten 117 against Perth Scorchers in the CLT20 2013 © IANS

New Zealand’s Neil Trevor Broom lit up the Sawai Mansingh stadium on Wednesday evening with a devastating century — the fastest ever in Champions League T20 history. With nine fours and eight sixes in his innings of 117 from 56 deliveries, Broom showcased his ability to use the long handle effectively. Prakash Govindasreenivasan feels this knock may have just opened the doors to the national side for him.

For Neil Broom, the match-winning performance against Perth Scorchers has probably come at a perfect time. With two early wickets, including that of the dangerous Brendon McCullum, and a typical Indian flat wicket to play on, Broom latched onto the opportunity in a bid to grab the attention of the New Zealand national selectors. At the age of 29, Broom was probably hoping to make the most of the opportunity in the Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) 2013 and grab the attention of the national selectors, who last picked him for New Zealand in 2010. Whether this solitary knock would put him in contention is a big question, but Broom has definitely made a solid statement of intent.

Broom did not dazzle during the qualifiers in which the Otago Volts maintained a clean sheet with three wins in as many games. Broom’s form was not in sync with his side’s. He had a terrible start to the campaign, suffering a first-ball duck at the hands of Samiullah Khan in the match against the Faisalabad Wolves. He followed it up with scores of 16 and 25. Yet, on Wednesday, in the main tournament, he managed to brush off the poor form and produced something extraordinary.

Having been there from start to finish, it was fascinating to see the New Zealander shift gears at crucial junctures of the game. His wagon wheel reveals his knack of being able to play on either side of the wicket — a quality that is often crucial for a batsman in the shortest format of the game. Broom also showed that he had a plethora of shots in his arsenal. There were deliveries that were cut behind square, some punched through extra-cover and some others straight down the ground. The moment he thought the time was right, he unleashed a barrage of sixes. Broom got to both his milestones — 50 and 100 — with a six. The first one was an elegant inside out stroke played over extra-cover and the second was a strong hit  over fine-leg after he made a last minute change on spotting a rising delivery.

In the company of Ryan ten Doeschate, Broom’s confidence only doubled as both went about decimating the Perth Scorchers’ bowling attack. They left no stone unturned in their pursuit of a score that was big enough to defend on what looked like a lovely track for batting.

The duo’s 128-run stand for the fourth wicket came off only 48 balls as both took turns at sending the opposition on a leather hunt. On the virtue of being at the wicket for a longer period, Broom took centre stage and assumed the duties of punishing the bowlers while Ten Doeschate silently raced away to his half-century. Broom also went onto show no mercy to the two tyros — Joel Paris and Burt Cockley.

Paris had a dream start to what was his  second T20 match with two wickets off the first two deliveries he bowled. However, the end was nightmarish as Broom tore him apart. In his overall figures of two for 50 in four overs, Broom scored 40 runs from the 14 balls he faced of Paris. This included three consecutive sixes in the penultimate over to bring up his century as well as take the team’s score past 200. Cockley whose match figures read none for 45 from just only overs, also faced the wrath of Broom. Broom smashed 23 runs in the 10 deliveries he faced off Cockley.

It was power hitting at its best from Broom as he managed to clear the field with ease. His innings of 117 from just 56 deliveries included nine boundaries and eight big sixes.

In his brief stint at the international level, Broom has represented New Zealand in 16 One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and nine T20Is, scoring at a paltry average of 17.52 and 15.25 respectively. He last played for the Kiwis in March 2010. With his sensational century against the Scorchers, Broom has definitely bought himself some time from the selectors. If Broom can display a bit of consistency and carry his form throughout the tournament, a recall into the national side is very much on the cards. He was in the New Zealand A side recently and it shows that he is on the selectors radar. But, such performances will push him into the senior side.

(Prakash Govindasreenivasan is a reporter with CricketCountry. His Twitter handle is @PrakashG_89)