Jimmy Neesham enjoys career-best day with the ball

Jimmy Neesham in action
Jimmy Neesham in action
©Action Images via Reuters / John Sibley Livepic
 

New Zealand all-rounder Jimmy Neesham, who was left out of his country’s ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2015 squad and subsequently had to be persuaded not to retire after a slump in form, believes his experiences have given him new perspective on the life of an international sportsman.

  • New Zealand all-rounder missed out on the 2015 squad
  • Neesham took five wickets for the first time in ODIs against Afghanistan

Neesham bounced back from some harsh treatment at the hands of the Bangladesh batsmen in the team’s second World Cup group match to take five wickets for the first time in ODIs in the seven-wicket win over Afghanistan in Taunton on Saturday.

 And after the disappointment he suffered four years earlier, there was a form of redemption for Neesham in being named player of the match.

 “I suppose it’s cricket in a nutshell," he said. “It’s been documented the journey I’ve been on. To come out today and put together a man-of-the-match performance at a World Cup is obviously what dreams are made of.”

 Neesham said steady rain on the day before the Afghanistan match meant he had not bowled a ball since the Bangladesh game at the Oval.

 He added: “I just walked off the other day and thought you get a bit of tap every now and then. What’s the worst that can happen? I came out with that fresh mindset as though that hadn’t happened.

 “I suppose the worst case scenario is that I’ve played in a World Cup for New Zealand which is something I didn’t expect to be doing a year ago.

 “I feel like I’m gambling with casino money a little bit but still there are goals we are hoping to achieve in the World Cup as a unit. It would be fantastic to proceed through the group stages and make it a real fairy tale.”

 He added he expected to get hit sometimes in his role as a backup bowler even though he aimed to keep the strike rate below a run a ball.

 “Wickets come it you’re bowling well, occasionally they don’t come if you’re bowling well. But I think you just try to do your job, keep the runs at a minimum,” he added.

 “I didn’t read too much into the last game. I had a bit of a think of how I was approaching my bowling and what I was trying to do with the ball and then went back to my sort of bread and butter which is not trying to swing it too much and trying to get too much movement in the air. The wicket suited me and obviously the nicks went to hand so you walk off pretty pleased.”

 Neesham said at the start of his international career he had not contemplated possible failure.

 He concluded: “It becomes the be-all and end-all. Then you realise when you play international cricket for so long everybody is allowed to have good days. Sometimes you get a bit of tapping up and sometimes you give someone else a bit of tapping up.”