Club: Hutt Districts
State Wellington Firebirds debut: v State Otago Volts 2007/08 (State Twenty20)
Best bat: 50 v State Central Stags 2008/09 (State Shield)
Best bowl: 4 for 40 v State Auckland Aces 2008/09 (State Shield)
State Wellington Firebirds’ overseas player Graham Napier entered the 2008/09 New Zealand domestic one-day and Twenty20 season with a reputation as a hard hitting, explosive batsman but ended it as the country’s leading one-day bowler.
Napier’s 21 wickets at an average of 20.80 from 10 State Shield games earned him top spot in the inaugural State MVP competition by the time he left the team at the end of February for England Lions and Essex county commitments.
A powerfully built and aggressive opening bowler, Napier took regular wickets throughout the State Shield and State Twenty20 competition, but generally remained subdued with the bat and passed 50 just once.
Napier made international cricket headlines in July 2008 with a head spinning Twenty20 innings 152 off just 52 balls for Essex against Sussex, afterwards receiving a congratulatory phone call from pop star Elton John.
Napier replaced fast bowler Charlie Shreck as the State Wellington Firebirds’ overseas player in 2008/09.