Outstanding 1969 New Zealand side reunites after 40 years

Forty years after producing some of New Zealand cricket’s most outstanding results on the sub-continent, the 1969 national team is to reunite in Wellington this week.

Members of the team, including captain Graham Dowling, Glenn Turner, Dayle Hadlee and Bruce Taylor will hold a reunion at Allied Nationwide Finance Basin Reserve during the third Test between New Zealand and India [3 to 7 April].

Other team members expected to attend will include Bruce Murray, Mark Burgess, Bevan Congdon, Brian Hastings, Vic Pollard, Richard Collinge, Barry Milburn and Bryan Yuile. Absent from the gathering will be Ken Wadsworth, Bob Cunis, Hedley Howarth, Dick Motz and manager Gordon Burgess, who have since died.

New Zealand Cricket president Don Neely describes the side as one of the unheralded great teams of New Zealand cricket.

“This side secured New Zealand’s first ever Test win in India, and first ever away series win – against Pakistan,” said Neely.

“That was an outstanding achievement in the trying sub-continent conditions which saw New Zealand competing not only against legendary cricketers like Bishen Bedi and the Mohammad brothers – Hanif, Mushtaq and Sadiq – but also battling the weather, rioting crowds and fires in the stands.

“It’s a pity this side hasn’t had greater recognition – perhaps their achievements were overshadowed by other world events in those tumultuous times, which saw men walking on the moon, as well as Vietnam and Woodstock.”

The New Zealand team travelled to England in July 1969, losing the three-Test series 2-0 against an experienced home side that included the bowling skills of Derek Underwood and Ray Illingworth.

The side then came away from India with a drawn three-Test series – but a sense of moral victory after suggestions that Indian authorities hadn’t done all they could to dry a rain-affected pitch when the tourists were in a commanding position on the final day of the third Test. India had won the first by 60 runs, New Zealand the second by 167 runs, helped by nine wickets in the match for Hedley Howarth.

In Pakistan, New Zealand scored their first series win ever. After a drawn first Test at Karachi, New Zealand took the initiative at the second in Lahore – dismissing Pakistan for 114 in the first innings and setting the scene for a five-wicket victory. New Zealand then saved the third test from likely defeat after a 96-run partnership for the ninth wicket between Mark Burgess and Bob Cunis saw the match through to a draw.

Members of the 1969 team will be at the Basin Reserve throughout the third Test.

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