Waterboy to wonderboy: What Kyle Jamieson learned from Black Caps’ Australian thrashing
One of the heroes of the Black Caps’ rise to number one in the world test cricket rankings believes a month spent carrying drinks for the team in Australia set him up for an incredible year of success.
In December 2019, Kyle Jamieson was invited by the Black Caps to tour Australia – not to play cricket, but to acclimatise to the team and the highest level of the sport.
That month he was forced to watch, and provide liquid and moral support for the team as they were whitewashed 3-0 by an Australian side at the top of their game on home soil. It was the worst result for the New Zealanders in a series since losing 3-0 in India in late 2016.
However, it seems the roasting at the hands of the Australians led to the rise of a new star for the Black Caps as the towering pace bowler was absorbing the knowledge he needed to reach the next level.
“This time last year I was on the plane back from Aussie having sat and ran the drinks for a couple of weeks and I thought that was me for a while, and I’d go back to domestic cricket and take the lessons out of that tour and try to improve,” Jamieson told Newstalk ZB‘s Jason Pine.
When asked if he thought he could have stemmed the flow of defeats on that difficult tour, Jamieson is adamant he was not ready.
“I was still a long way off. The learnings I took out of those couple of weeks certainly helped me when I came back… trying to work on a few things before I actually played international cricket.
“I think if I was in the state that I was in then, in terms of my knowledge and where I was at physically, I probably would have gone on a [tough] journey a little bit, so it’s probably worked out alright.”
Despite Jamieson’s assertions that his skillset was far below the bar when it came to international cricket, just seven weeks later he completed his test debut against India with figures of 4-84 – including the prized wicket of Virat Kohli.
Since then, Jamieson’s success has continued on a steadily-upwards gradient and after six tests he has taken 36 wickets at average of 13.27 along scoring a handy 226 runs at 56.50 with the bat.
So what was it about that tour of Australia that set him up for such a performance? It turns out the lessons were rather simple.
“The intensity of international cricket, that was a bit of a wake-up call, having seen that for the first time up close and the demands of going back-to-back days and back-to-back tests.
“From a personal point of view and on the technical side of bowling, I watched the way that our bowlers operated and same with the Aussies and the way they attacked the crease.
“That was something we worked on at the back end of that Sydney test in the nets… around my run-up, to make that more efficient so I could do that over long periods of time; and not just be effective in your first spell but how you can do that over the course of five days of a test match.”
Despite his meteoric rise to prominence and subsequent praise from all quarters of the cricketing world, Jamieson seems grounded and rational about what has happened and what is in store for him in the future.
“I think there’s still going to be challenges overseas. I’ve only played six tests and I’ve played them all at home in pretty favourable conditions.
“There’s challenges around white-ball cricket. I’m still a long way off there in trying to learn some skills there and balancing formats along with the day-in, day-out rigours of international cricket.
“I certainly don’t feel like I’m the finished product at all.”
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