New Zealand vs Pakistan: Colin de Grandhomme's journey from Zimbabwe to Auckland
It turned out to be a dream start for Colin de Grandhomme's Test career as he ran through the Pakistan batting order to record the best figures on Test debut by a New Zealand bowler.
Colin de Grandhomme's Test career got off to a dream start on Tuesday, as the Zimbabwe-born all-rounder ran through the Pakistan batting order to record the best figures on Test debut by a New Zealand bowler.
Making his way into the Test side after a series of consistent performances in the domestic circuit, de Grandhomme recorded figures of 6/41 to surpass Alex Moir's 6/155 against England more than half a century ago. Riding on his destructive spell, New Zealand managed to put behind the disappointments of series losses in South Africa and India by skittling Pakistan out for a lowly 133 after electing to field.
The 30-year-old seamer, a surprise selection in the squad, also became the eighth New Zealander to take a five-wicket haul on debut. He repaid the selectors' faith with a nagging line and length and did just enough off the pitch and through the air to create doubt for Pakistan's batsmen.
De Grandhomme completed his five-wicket haul, when he had Sohail Khan caught at short midwicket before Misbah's resistance of 108 balls ended on 31 when caught at mid-off by Kane Williamson off Boult. The Zimbabwe-born all-rounder then wrapped up the innings when Rahat Ali nicked behind to wicketkeeper BJ Watling for a five-ball duck.
Let us now take a look at de Grandhomme's journey so far, starting from his days in Zimbabwe to becoming a key figure in the Auckland cricket team:
Early days: Born in the Zimbabwean capital of Harare, de Grandhomme represented the southern African country in the 2003 Under-19 World Cup, where he played alongside the likes of Brendan Taylor. He represented sides such as Manicaland at provincial level. Among his other memorable knocks is a century for Zimbabwe U-23 team against South Africa's Eastern Province, in which he hit a patient 109.
Both father Laurence and uncle Bunny played for Zimbabwe, and Colin could have been one of leading players for his country of birth, but the crumbling state of the sport in the country forced him to leave for greener pastures in New Zealand at the age of 20.
Journey in New Zealand: De Grandhomme's debut for Auckland was during the State Twenty20 final against Otago in February 2007, though he did not get to either bat or bowl in that match. However, he hit a useful 87 for the side in the State Championship (now known as the Plunket Shield). Over the years, he has built a reputation as a hard-hitting batsman and an accurate bowler.
He first showed consistency in the 2008-09 edition of the Plunket Shield, recording averages of 51.45 and 24.57 with bat and ball respectively, playing a central role in Auckland regaining the trophy. The 2011-12 season turned out to be his best, in which he hammered three centuries while amassing 631 runs at 70.11 to find a place among the top run-getters. His 147-ball 144 for Auckland against Otago, that helped them chase down a target of 373, brought him back in the eyes of the selectors and bolstered his case for national selection.
He was named in the New Zealand Emerging Players squad that took part in a quadrangular series in Australia, and earned another call-up to the side two years later.
International career: He made his debut against his native Zimbabwe in the first game of the two-match Twenty20 International (T20I) series in February 2012, and made his one-day debut against South Africa a month later. However, he did not produce enough runs or take enough wickets to preserve his place in the national team.
The 2009 champions thumped arch rivals India by 10 wickets in their opening match followed by a nervy five-wicket win over New Zealand, making them well placed for the semi-finals.
Williamson, not part of the squad in Pakistan as he was playing in the Indian Premier League in the United Arab Emirates, played down talk of a grudge match.
Pakistan held nerves in chasing a paltry 135-run target, losing five wickets before romping home in 18.4 overs for their second win in the Super 12 Stages.