Cricketing Q+A with Ben Hurley

We talk cricket with Billy T award winning comedian and Seven Days star and cricket fan Ben Hurley. Take it away Ben:

Who would be the first three names in your all-time New Zealand cricket team?
Fortunately, we as cricket fans have three forms of the game to enjoy so I get to answer this three times. There are two names that will inevitability be mentioned  in any "all time" NZ Test team and those are Hadlee and Crowe (sorry, not Dayle and Jeff). Their ubiquity is difficult to disagree with. My third player only played 18 tests but his stats are hard to argue with. His name is Bond, Shane Bond.

One dayers are harder, we have traditionally been a very good one day side so competition is fierce. Astle, Cairns, Fleming are all from our best era of ODIs and would be first on that list.

T20s, it's not my favourite form of the game but lets say Taylor, McCullum (either actually) and Ryder for arguments sake.



Have you ever tried to explain cricket to someone who’d never seen it before? How did you get on?
Americans struggle with the concept of cricket, I have tried to explain it but they are genetically programmed to not appreciate the game's subtleties. Canadians are more willing to learn. Maybe it's a Commonwealth thing. When it comes to New Zealand, I'm a republican but it turns out being run by the English for a while does have its perks.

What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever seen on a cricket field, either in person or on the telly?
Brendon McCullum bowling in India a couple of years ago was pretty amusing as was watching Mark Richardson play a One dayer. When I was a student in Wellington I used to go to the Basin frequently. Once, during a test vs Australia, Michael Slater was batting and closing in on a ton, a chant went up about his notorious jitters on 97 (he had been out in tests a number of times for that score). 2 balls later he hit a four which took him to 101, he then walked out, almost to the square leg boundary, to salute and acknowledge the guy who had started the chant. Even the Basin embankment got on their feet that day and applauded the Aussie opener.
 
Have you ever used cricket material in your stand up comedy? How did it go down?
Cricket is a bit of a cult so referencing specific incidents of great New Zealand performances might be a bit of a hard sell for a crowd. I do talk about my own tragic obsession with the game though. I have also done gigs for the Black Caps themselves which is where I can really stretch my cricketing humour muscle. Tim Southee is a common target, for obvious reasons, but lately Dougie Bracewell and his "back foot cut" made for fertile comedic ground.
 
Corporate box or grass bank and why?
Having been very lucky in my life and experienced both, I would say that either have their merits. I love the atmosphere of the embankment but the lack of a queue for the bar is a plus of the corporate box.
 
Is anyone else in the Seven Days team into cricket?
I actually play social cricket with a few of the Seven Days cast. Dai Henwood is a wicket hungry seamer, Jesse Griffin an excellent swing bowler, Brendhan Lovegrove a hard hitting middle order batsman and I am our opening bowler with my aggressive "pace" bowling which is slightly slower than the pace at which I run in.
 
We heard you were a pretty handy 200m sprinter back in the day, does that  natural speed help when playing cricket at all?
Not really as I was never a strong starter. As a bigger guy, momentum was always my friend when I ran. Therefore when running a quick single I am almost up to top speed as I reach the other end of the pitch. As you can imagine, turning around and taking 2 is slightly difficult as I'm somewhere near the boundary by that stage.
 
Have you been to any matches when you’ve been overseas? Any notable grounds?
I lived in London for four years and went to The Oval three times but never went to Lords. I like to say that it's because I am a "man of the people" but really it's because I couldn't afford a Lords ticket.

I travelled to Trent Bridge to watch us in the semi final of the T20 World cup against Sri Lanka. It wasn't our best day as we got bowled out for less than 100. Me and the fellow Kiwi I was traveling with drowned our sorrows in a local Nottingham bar called "Hooters", the staff were very friendly.

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