On Wednesday, a group of New Zealand cricketers will anxiously huddle up in their hotel room in Wellington to tune to an event happening 12,000 kilometres away in Bangalore: the IPL auction.
At least, one player claims the pressure will be too much for him to handle.
“Luckily enough, it’s between the Tests,” says Corey Anderson. “There is a bit of talk among the boys to watch the auction. I’ll probably not watch mine and instead watch someone else’s. And when my name comes up I’ll probably go out of the room. I would rather someone texts me that you didn’t get in or you are gone, “ he says, with a smile.
This from a guy who bats like he doesn’t know what pressure is. The guy who broke Shahid Afridi’s 16-year-old record of the fastest ODI century on New Year’s Day. It only shows how much the IPL means to New Zealand’s cricketers. For, the centrally contracted ones here — and there are about 20 on that list 3 earn between a range of NZ$ 70,000 to NZ $140,000 per annum. It fetches them primarily their bread and butter. Their house mortgages and the kind of car they drive will depend significantly on what price will they get, if any, when the hammer comes down.
Anderson, however, can start looking for a house in the fanciest of neighbourhoods in New Zealand. The big-hitting all-rounder is widely expected to attract huge bids, with some even suggesting a million-dollar plus figure.
“It’s one of those things I am excited about,” Anderson says. “It’s one of those things that I haven’t had any experience of. I don’t know what all it’s gonna be about when it happens. I reckon a few guys sense it sort of tends to be a bit of a circus as well. But I am glad to be part of this circus at that moment and I am just looking forward to it.”
For someone who relies on brute strength to send ball into orbit, Anderson has timed his knocks quite well, too. After the fastest hundred against the West Indies, he turned in two more match-winning performances with bat, and one with ball, to burnish his credentials. In process, he also showed potential buyers his class, in case they had missed the West Indies match on January 1.
Probed by the media, he relives the knock once more.
“It was a pretty crazy day to be fair. We didn’t think we were even going to play. Suddenly we go out there and we get this unbelievable start. It was one of those days when you just want to belt every ball to a six or a four, and I just kept hitting it. I can’t put my finger on anything and say, well, what I had the night before or anything. It was just one of those crazy day of cricket,” Anderson says.
“I thought I might be close to a New Zealand record or something. I never thought that it would be a world record. It was pretty crazy what all was happening.”
So will he now try and break Vivian Richards’ fastest hundred record (56 balls) in Tests? “It would be pretty gutsy to try and take that down. You would like a genius or an idiot. I can’t say I am gonna try and do that,” he says.
Anderson is a big hitter, but not reckless. He is confident, but not cocky. Speaking with The Indian Express, former New Zealand wicketkeeper Peter McGlashan remembers playing against an immensely talented kid who was mature beyond his years.
“I was playing with him in a first-class game. He must have been just 16 or 17 then. I was with the Northern Districts and he was playing for Canterbury. Obviously we had heard a lot about him. So we wanted to unsettle him when he came out to bat. I was keeping and was sledging him, saying stuff like: ‘What are you doing here, you mother must be worried.’ And, ‘Have you done your homework?’ He was a bit flustered as to why we were targeting him, but he batted beautifully. After the match, I walked up to him to shake hands. He was confused. I explained it to him that we were taking a dig at him because we knew he was good,” says Peter.
It’s this mental balance and unflappable composure could come in handy in crunch IPL situations.
Meanwhile, even as his blockbuster summer seems set become even bigger, Anderson doesn’t think of himself as a finished product. “There’s a lot of work to do. I need to keep focus and be consistent. I know there are guys behind me trying to knock down the door and take my position. Even though I have had a few scores, it doesn’t make a summer. It sure doesn’t make a career.”
It may make a million, though.