Cricket: Morrison blows the whistle on tactics

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The Independent Online
Danny Morrison, the 31-year-old New Zealander whose 24 ducks make him the worst batsman in Test history, was able to deny England's front-line bowlers for two hours and 45 minutes because they used the wrong tactics.

"They bowled a bit too short at me. They tried to pepper me, but it was such a slow pitch," the paceman and Kiwi No 11 batsman said.

"Especially when I first came in it would have been better trying to get me to drive and then I might have nicked a ball to the keeper or the slips. And I was quite surprised when they took the second new ball. It looked easier to swing the older ball by reversing it."

Morrison, who bats wearing sunglasses, endorses a whistle, marketed by New Zealand's cricket authorities, called the Demon Duck Caller. On sale at cricket grounds, it is designed for home spectators to be able to whistle at opposition batsmen.

In advertisements Kiwi cricket fans are urged "to call on the curse of the demon duck!" which Morrison for once so steadfastly avoided against England.

In 47 Test innings he had scored only 359 runs at an average of 7.97. Yet he faced exactly the same number of deliveries as century-maker Nathan Astle (133) while the pair put together their 106-run last-wicket stand. And he did so without giving a single chance.

Morrison, who finished on 14, was happy to enter the record books as a batsman for the right reasons for once. "I'm the world record holder for ducks in Test matches," he said. "I just went out there to try and hang on for Nathan and was happy to play the Stonewall Jackson role.

"I know I have got a poor reputation as a batsman, which is quite justified because I think of myself as an underachiever with the bat in my first- class career. I am capable when I put my mind to it.

"But my batting deteriorated after I left high school and I did not practice enough because I was always bowling in net sessions.

"When I went in today my initial thought was just to support Nathan, but I had nothing to lose and felt quite relaxed.

"But after a while we started to think that if we could get to tea then we might have a chance of saving the Test."

His fellow hero, Astle, said: "Danny was great to bat with because he played so positively and we just took it from over to over."