Peter Fulton: Two-Metre Peter standing tall in his second coming as Test player

Kiwi batsman had given up on Test career but two centuries against England secured place

Lord's

Two-Metre Peter has risen to his full height at last. After years when it seemed that his batting career might remain unfulfilled he suddenly emerged as a marauding avenger laying waste to all before him.

To be at Eden Park in Auckland last March was to see a cricketer transformed. Peter Fulton had been short of the necessary in his first coming as a New Zealand batsman but now here he was, plundering the England attack with the zeal of someone making up for lost time, recognising that this was where he belonged.

He made twin hundreds when in 19 previous innings his top score had been 75. A painstaking 136 in the first innings was followed by a rampant 110 in the second, in which the first 50 took 120 balls, the second 52. He reached his century with his fifth six.

Now Fulton is preparing to become one of the eight members of the New Zealand team to make their first appearance in a Test match at Lord's. At the age of 34, one stalled international career behind him, he is the most unlikely of the octet. He had never dared to expect this.

"It was definitely improbable," he said, standing in Coronation Gardens behind the Lord's Pavilion and looking perfectly at home. "In New Zealand, because we don't have the same depth of players, you're never – no matter who you are – completely out of the picture. I always wanted to play for New Zealand again. But if it didn't happen, I guess I'd come to terms with that, and that would have been OK.

"Because I'd done well in one-day cricket against some of the best teams in the world, I knew that I was good enough. But just because you know you're good enough to do something, that doesn't mean it's necessarily going to happen for you."

Fulton has always been easily recognisable as a batsman simply because of his height. It remains predominantly an occupation for short men (though not as short as they used to be). In modern times only the late Tony Greig would have been a match. But for long enough it was as if it would be the only thing that would mark Fulton out.

He was brought up on the family farm in Canterbury on South Island, pillars of the local cricketing community. After doing the hard yards in club and provincial cricket, where he built a reputation as a belligerent attacking player, he made the Test team shortly after his 27th birthday.

Rarely did he remotely display the form or the style that got him there. It might just have been that he was not quite up to it. Five years ago he was on the Kiwis' tour of England and "played about five days of cricket in the two months here, so it was a pretty long and frustrating trip".

He had been scheduled to play in the final match at Trent Bridge but on the morning of the match the wicketkeeper, Brendon McCullum, hurt his back. Although he was still able to bat, the team needed another wicketkeeper. Ten minutes before the toss Fulton was told he was dropped before starting and suspected the opportunity of playing a Test in England, never mind at Lord's, had gone.

Three years after being discarded completely he was recalled in the winter partly because of injury to one of the resident opening batsmen, Martin Guptill, partly because the team's batting had been severely disrupted by South Africa's pace in January.

"I've put a lot less pressure on myself," he said. "There's always going to be external pressure from other people and that sort of thing, but as far as putting pressure on myself, I'm just trying to make the most of the opportunity. But also you've got to do it once to know you can actually do it. You've got to believe in yourself."

Any conversation with Fulton involves mention of the height. Tall batsmen are still rare enough to disrupt bowlers, as Fulton demonstrated so eminently in Auckland

"Anyone who is tall will say that the taller you are the longer levers you have," he said. "Balance is important, the one thing I'm always conscious of working on. It has its advantages at times but any batsman would say they want to be as light on their feet or as nimble as they can. Whether it would be easier for me if I wasn't as tall I'm not sure. A lot of the world's best have been shorter so maybe there is something in that."

The cosy nickname was bestowed when he first played for Canterbury. It turns out to be journalistic licence. Two-Metre Peter has, or rather those who use the term have, been living a lie. He is only 1.98m (6ft 6in). But in Auckland in March as far as England were concerned he was the tallest man on the planet.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £...

Recruitment Genius: Recruitment & HR Administrator

£17000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Guru Careers: HR Manager / HR Business Partner

£55 - 65k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: A HR Manager / HR Business Partner i...

Recruitment Genius: Senior HR Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Company's vision is to be t...

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most