BLACKCAP Jacob Oram has told the next generation of young New Zealand cricket talent that self-belief and intense desire to do well will carry them to the top of the game.
Speaking at the Gillette Cup 20th anniversary celebrations this week [Thursday 10 December] Oram looked back at his own time playing in the secondary schools tournament and told this year’s finalists about what it takes to be an international cricketer.
“It’s about sacrifice and discipline,” he told the young players. “Cherish the moment – it’s a cool time in life.”
Oram played in the Gillette Cup from 1993 to 1995 before taking the step up to First Class cricket in 1997. He played in the tournament against the likes of Scott Stryris, Matthew Bell, Chris Gaffaney, Joseph Yovich and the Parlane brothers.
During Oram’s Gillette Cup appearances for Palmerston North Boys High School the team didn’t win, but came in second twice and third once.
“I had a fear of failure and was always striving for perfection, but if you do that you will fail. But that’s what kept driving me,” he said. “I had faith in my ability and a massive fear of losing.”
He told the young players now is the time to step up not just physically but mentally to make the transition into Under 19s and First Class grades.
“I think the young guys coming through now have got here on talent. The ones who will move on are the ones who want it the most. Those are the guys who will get fast tracked in two to four years.”
Although Oram has retired from Test cricket to focus on the shorter formats of the game, he said the five day game is still the highest form, and that is where the young players should be aiming for.
“Don’t lose sight of Test cricket, it’s the purest form of the game. I care most about my Tests stats and I want to be known for what I did in Tests – but it’s physically hard and I’ve got to look after my family now.”
The best part of Gillette Cup for Oram was the long lasting friendships he’s formed. “(Stags wicketkeeper) Bevan Griggs was in my team and he was best man at my wedding. Cricket is that sort of game. It goes a lot deeper than other sports.”
Oram was speaking during celebrations at the Coachman Hotel in Palmerston North as players, officials, supporters and those involved with the Gillette Cup came together to recognise the outstanding growth of the tournament over its 20 years.