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Bryan Waddle's view from
the commentary box
Joseph Romanos talks to
cricket broadcaster Bryan
Waddle about working in a
bank, Richard Hadlee's world
record and the Basin Reserve.
Bryan Waddle: ''The longer I've gone on the more I've realised how little I knew about cricket.''
Weren't you a Karori boy?
Yes, Karori West to be exact. And then
Who were your contemporaries at
Keith Quinn, Onny Parun and David
Howman were there with me. Graeme
Moody was a couple of years behind.
Did you make the first XI?
I had some games for the firsts, trying to
be a batsman.
What about afterwards?
I played for Karori for four years, and got
into the seniors, then moved to Collegians.
Where did you work before you
became a broadcaster?
For the ANZ Bank. Enjoyed it, too, but it
was the start of the computer era and the
job stopped being about people.
What turned you to broadcasting?
A group of us used to drink at the Britt
in Willis St, and we d mix with the guys
from the Sports Post and some broad-
casters. Then there was the broadcasting
split, when everyone had to decide whether
to stay with radio or go with television. It
created some vacancies at radio, so I
applied and, after an audition, got a job.
I worked for 2ZB sport. I loved it, cover-
ing a range of sports, reading the sports
news, presenting sports shows.
How did you come to specialise in
It was gradual. When I started, Trevor
Rigby and Noel Lawson were the local com-
mentators. Then I d get the odd test, mainly
doing news reports and interviews. I
became a more full-time commentator in
1984, on the New Zealand tour to Pakistan.
But it was, and still is, more than just com-
mentating. I do previews, interviews at the
end of the day, news reports.
Do you get sick of touring?
I don t like the hotels and being on
planes. That s very draining. But I still love
cricket -- watching, talking to players and
coaches and others in the media.
Do you get on well with players, even
if you're critical of them?
Sometimes things get frosty for a week or
two, but I haven t really had too many
problems. Players are always welcome to
have something out with me. I ll defend my
position if I can, or I ll maybe see it from
Some of our players have been
rather individualistic. Did you get on
with Turner and Hadlee, for example?
I always got on well with Hadlee. With
Turner it took a wee while, but I have really
enjoyed talking cricket with him.
Some commentators plan certain
lines when they know a big moment is
coming, like winning a World Cup or
the America's Cup. Do you do that?
Not much. I like the spontaneity. I had a
few ideas about what I wanted to say when
Hadlee got his 374th test wicket in India,
the world record. But at the time I was
watching the game through the legs of a
bloke holding two wires together over my
head, and was talking into a tape recorder.
I didn t even know if we d fixed our techni-
cal problems and I was on air, but I wanted
to record the moment. Hence the tape
Who have been some of the good
commentators you've worked with?
Alan Richards was the No 1 when I came
on the scene. He was strong and forthright.
I still remember how wonderfully he
described Rodney Redmond hitting Majid
Khan for five successive boundaries at
Eden Park: He s working him around the
clock. Iain Gallaway had a conservative
middle-of-the-road style, but was masterful
with his subtle humour and powers of
You became associated with Jeremy
Coney and John Parker.
At that time, a team of specialist com-
mentators was sent to each big game. We
got on well. I really enjoyed working with
them. Coney was very clever with words
and Parker was drier and very observant.
You must have learnt a bit over the
You start out and think you know a lot,
but the longer I ve gone on, the more I ve
realised how little I knew about cricket. I m
not so adamant or black and white these
days. Talking to knowledgeable commen-
tators in Australia and England and to
good players gives you much more insight
into the game.
What have been some memorable
Winning the test in Hobart at the end of
last year was a big one. I wasn t at the Oval
in 1999 when we won the series against
England. I came home after the World Cup
that year, so missed the test series. I was
listening on the radio in the middle of the
night and was very touched when Chris
Cairns, in the euphoria of victory, sent out
a special greeting to Bryan Waddle, who d
like to have been with us today . The 1992
World Cup, when New Zealand played so
well, was another great time.
What's your favourite ground?
Do you need ask! The Basin Reserve, a
true cricket ground. I love the vibrancy and
intimacy, with everyone part of the game.
My father was the public address
announcer back in the 1970s, and my
mother did the catering -- she once told off
Jeremy Coney for taking four potatoes one
lunchtime. The ground has great memories
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