Forgotten Black Cap equals world's best for local club

Publish Date
Tuesday, 2 March 2021, 10:27AM
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By: Chris Rattue

What does a professional sportsperson do when their top-level aspirations have been cut short, and they've still got lots to offer?

In the case of former Black Caps T20 specialist Ronnie Hira, it includes tearing a local rival apart in a club contest with returns any cricketer could only dream about.

When NZME called, Hira initially questioned whether his club performance was worthy of news. We thought it was.

The 34-year-old Hira, who played 15 T20 games for New Zealand, scored a 50 at world record pace for North Shore against Takapuna to go alongside 14 wickets in the game.

The fastest half centuries scored in any form of professional cricket have also come off 12 deliveries and it's a feat only achieved by four men: Chris Gayle (twice), Yuvraj Singh, Mohammad Shahzad and Hazratullah Zazai.

Takapuna were tempting North Shore to set a target but it backfired on them and they lost by close to 100 runs. The Devonport arena became Hira's playground as he smashed 50 off just 12 balls, and spun Takapuna into oblivion.

"It could have been a few balls less - I let two go, one down leg side and one down the off," Hira told NZME about his batting blitz.

"They were trying to make a game of it but were still using their best spinners and bowling to a plan."

Batting at number five, Hira ended up with 73 scored in just 20 minutes from 22 balls, including seven sixes and seven fours, in the Hedley Howarth Championship two-day game.

The match was also a rare chance for Hira to get a long bowl because North Shore's main leg spinner was away.

Left armer Hira's match figures were 14 for 78 from 43 overs. This included eight in the second innings, the first time he has reached that mark.

Hira was disappointed to be left out of the Auckland Aces this season after helping them into last year's Super Smash final.

Five years ago, batting woes meant Canterbury - coached by current national boss Gary Stead - let him go. That was his last professional contract, and he's worked in marketing and e-commerce since.

Despite taking the plunge with a real job, Hira said it's a tricky zone for anyone such as himself who retains high level aspirations yet needs to ensure they can make a living.

You get the feeling that if the Aces came calling again, he wouldn't say no. But it's also tough to push a case.

Hira and wife Roshney have a four-year-old, and another child due in June. His club heroics come on a very limited training regime, around work and family life.

He has one batting session at Eden Park each week, a 5am start, and doesn't practice his bowling at all apart from rolling the arm over on match days.

"North Shore is a proud club with a lot of history - some members said it was one of the finest team performances full stop," Hira said of his stunning club game.

"Takapuna have had it over us for the last 10 years but we've had a couple of wins this season which we're very happy about."

This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here with permission