Matt Henry – the unexpected CSK entrant
During the later part of day 1 of IPL 2014 auctions, when things were descending into a monotonous routine of Richard Madley announcing one name after the other and absolutely no one showing any interest in the huge list of players, everyone was suddenly caught off guard when Chennai Super Kings bid for a certain Matt Henry.
Out of nowhere, at the call of Matt Henry’s name, the CSK camp made a move and were the first and only team to bid for the player. The rest of the teams were left clueless. Leave aside wanting to make a bid, some had an utter clueless look on their faces.
Who is Matt Henry then?
Fans in India who woke up early to witness their team’s humiliation in New Zealand during the ODIs may remember that name. Matt Henry is a pace bowler who made his debut in the 5th and final ODI in the recently concluded series against India. His bowling figures of 10-1-38-4 were the third-best for a Kiwi on debut.
The highlight of his bowling was his skiddy pace which troubled the Indian batsmen. Even Virat Kohli, who was in supreme form during the tour was frustrated by Henry when he beat the edge of the Indian batsman on multiple occasions.
He bowled 2 full overs to Kohli, and conceded just 10 runs, including a boundary. Those who watched that spell would vouch for the fact that Kohli, despite showing attacking intent from the word go, was not comfortable taking him on.
Trivia: Henry had a major surgery for stress fracture in his lower back last year after struggling to cope with pain for 2 years. In fact, he is not the first bowler from Canterbury to undergo this surgery. 3 bowlers before him – Shane Bond, Andrew Ellis and Hamish Bennett underwent the same surgery, and even by the same surgeon!
The Stephen Fleming connection
While other New Zealand pacers like Mitchell McClenaghan, Hamish Bennett, Kyle Mills, Adam Milne and Ian Butler did not get any attention whatsoever from IPL teams, Stephen Fleming’s Canterbury connection with Henry may have helped the pacer get the nod from the Chennai Super Kings’ coach.
Fleming and Henry both hail from Christchurch, Canterbury and have played for the same domestic team. From the looks of it, this may have been totally Fleming’s call to include Henry in the CSK squad.
Yet to play a T20 international, Matt Henry has played 27 T20 matches for Canterbury.
Matches – 27, Runs - 127, Highest Score – 42, Average – 18.14, Strike Rate – 192.42, Fours – 7, Sixes – 11
Matches – 27, Wickets – 21, Best bowling in innings – 4/43, Average – 30.90, Economy – 8.42, Strike Rate – 22.0
Not a typical tailender
He registered his highest score of 42 against South Africa in a tour match in 2012, off just 17 balls, hitting 5 sixes in the innings! Watch the innings here:
More of his bowling – 4 wickets against India:
5/23 in Plunket Shield (Domestic First Class competition in NZ):
It may look like a surprise buy, but in the end, Stephen Fleming may have really found a gem for CSK today. They can take some consolation from it after an otherwise dull day for the team.