Ken Rutherford

Interview with Ken Rutherford

Ken Rutherford, the controversial former captain of New Zealand moved to South Africa prior to the start of the 1995-96 season to lead Transvaal in domestic provincial competition. He was interviewed by fans on the IRC undernet channel #cricket on 28 November 1996. The questioning consisted of a series of questions submitted by email, followed by questions submitted live.

Question: from (Paul Le Comte),

I have been following your progress on the net, but it's not the same as watching the real thing in Alexandra on a hot summers day. Ken, when will you play cricket here in N.Z. again? Could you work under the new coach and will you be returning to Otago cricket at all? (I still remember the triple century with fondness.)

Answer: Well, I've re-signed here until April 98, so perhaps after that. Who knows.... Yes, I've been very impressed with Steve Rixon, I think he seems to be doing a very good job, and that's been reflected in the results so far.


I still remember the match in Baroda and your exciting century, your first in ODI's if I am right. I really admire your hard work and persistence on the cricket field. Is there any chance for us to see you again

Answer: Eventually, I will return. Dunedin is still my home, so it's fair to say that I'll have some input into Otago cricket in the future, whether that be as player or in some other role.

Question: In an International match?

Answer: No, I don't think in an international match. I'll be 32 at the end of my contract here in Transvaal. I played ten years in International cricket and I feel that's a fair career. I've had enough of the travelling and the touring.. if it was all about playing cricket it would be fine, but it's everything else.

Question: from (Satyanand Chirravuri)

What do you think of the present New Zealand cricket team under the new captain Lee Germon?. I personally feel that the team future is at cross roads even after their sensational win against Pakistan on 24th.

Answer: I think they're still going through a learning curve. They've got some very good younger players such as Fleming, Astle, who given more time will become more consistent and be truly quality players. So I think it's a waiting game, but certainly to win a Test against Pakistan as they did last week, it was a great performance, and one which past NZ teams failed to achieve.

Question: (Daryn Hanright)

After NZ's fantastic victory in the 1st Test against Pakistan, it seems the selectors have almost got the balance of the team sorted out. However, do you think that Shane Thomson still has an important role to play in the middle order?. Also our pace bowlers still seem to be getting injuries way too frequently. How can bowlers like Akram, Ambrose, Walsh, etc. play county cricket, and remain relatively injury free compared to our quicks who always seem to be breaking down despite a lesser workload?. That problem must have been a nightmare during your captaincy. Also how are you surviving in Johannesburg without Speights?)

Answer: I believe Thomson still has a role to play, I don't know how his own attitude has been, I know that some management groups on New Zealand sides have had a problem with him, but personally I think he has a lot to offer and it's a little bit surprising from my point of view that he's still not in the New Zealand side.

Our only true fast bowler is Morrison, and he's had a niggling groin injury for about 6 years now, and for a bowler of his technique, it's a very serious injury to have, and at this stage I guess it looks career-threatening, but certainly our lack of fast-bowlers is a continuing concern, and one that hopefully will be addressed by New Zealand cricket. This season we may see a young guy coming through. During my captaincy, injuries were a problem throughout the team. Certainly bowlers, Cairns, Doull had serious injuries.. Nash.. so it's something that's not new. It was just unfortunate that that spate of injuries occurred during my captaincy.

About Speights, I've found a beer called Heineken, which I'm trying my best to accustom myself to!

Question: from jbthomas

What technical adjustments have you had to made to your batting to accomodate the pitches and style of bowling in South Africa? Would you be confident in transitioning back to New Zealand pitches at short notice, if called on by the selectors?

Answer: That's an interesting question, because the conditions do vary within South Africa. You can play here at the Wanderers where the bounce is quite good and the pace of the wicket is quite quick, then you can go down to Cape Town or Port Elizabeth, where the wicket is much slower, so you have to bwe able to adapst even within our own competition here. Really the conditions at the coast, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town, are very similar to NZ conditions. So I don't think there'll be a very big adjustment to make. I think I'm experienced enough now to revert back very quickly.

Question: from (Satyanand Chirravuri)

I always felt that you had under performed with respect to your talent for most of your international career. What do you think were the reasons? Were they because of problems with the board or other players?

Answer: That's fair. Certainly if you look at my stats that is the case. I spent the early part of my career in and out of the New Zealand side and I often had to open the batting which didn't really suit the way I play. And it wasn't really till probably the 92 World Cup and 2 or 3 seasons after that that I really performed consistently. I don't think the problems with the board really affected my game, and apart from 2 or 3 players who it's fair to say during my captaincy I had concerns about, my relations with the players were very good.

Question: from jbthomas

I was always a fan of your elder brother, Ian, in the days when he was opening for Otago. What is Ian up to these days? Is he involved in cricket in any capacity?

Answer: (laughs) Drinking too much Speights. He's an accountant, working for a roading firm in Otago and has been involved in cricket from a selectors' angle, and is still a very bad punter

Question: from (shilpa rao)

Who do you think is the best bowler you faced in you life? Either spin or fast?

Answer: Well, Malcolm Marshall was very quick in 1985. But facing Younis and Wasim akram during the 1990 tour of Pak was very difficult, especially as there were no neutral umpires then.

Spin...obviously Shane Warne is in a different class. I always had problems with Mushtaq Ahmed too, mainly since he spins his wrong'un too much than his googly.

Question: from (Ram Rajaram)

Ok, a question here on a controversial topic. While in India, I watched the Singer Cup played at Sharjah. 5 lbw calls that went against New Zealand were just amazing. Also incredulous was Ranatunga being called caught behind the wicket. Replays clearly showed that he did not nick the ball. I can understand one poor call in the course of a game, but 5 poor calls makes me wonder if the Umpires had an agenda. Your comments on umpires in general?

Answer: (laughs) It's a hard job isn't it? I think television replays are a little bit unfair on umpires in that they don't really reflect the split second decisions they have to adjudicate, but I do believe that the standard of umpiring doesn't reflect the quality of the play by the players in general. Obviously there are exceptions.

I think Randell from Australia is a good umpire, KT Francis from Sri Lanka, Shephard from England are top quality umps.

Question: Mavrik

Your thoughts on irc #cricket?

Answer: It's marvellous that modern technology can do ball by ball commentary...makes you wonder what the next step is.

Question: Farzi

What do you think is the main difference between Shane Warne and Mushtaq Ahmed?

Answer: I think the main difference is that Mushtaq bowls a lot slower than Warnie, and doesn't put so much turn on his legspin. His greatest danger is his googly and his top spinner, whereas Warnie obviously puts a lot of work on his legspinner, and his wrong'un is less of a threat. But both are quality bowlers.

Question: vsri

In your opinion who is the best batsman you have played against? And how do you rate Martin Crowe?

Answer: Probably the three best bats I played against, in no particular order. Javed Miandad was top class, Dean Jones, and... Graham Gooch was also a fine opening batsman. Martin Crowe, certainly the best batsman I've played with. It was a privilege to watch his batting from the other end during partnerships, and in particular his batting during the 92 World Cup was probably the best batting I've seen and probably will ever see.

Question: William

What was your relationship with Billy Ibadulla? Do you think he will still want to coach New Zealand cricket?

Answer: We're still very close. Whenever I have a problem with my batting, which is often these days (smiles), he's a guy who I'll turn to. I don't know if he has a future in New Zealand cricket in terms of coaching at the highest level, but certainly he has much experience to offer and it's a pity Otago cricket in particular don't utilise him better.

Question: Nilu

Do you think cricket should be included in Olympics and will it be good for the game?

Answer: Well, every other sport just about is getting some sort of spotlight isn't it! But, I don't know how logistically possible it would be, because obviously a lot of the Olympic venues aren't cricketing countries, so perhaps it's not really all that possible. It will be a demonstration sport at the next Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur I think, so it might be an opportunity there to see how it goes.

Question: Carrie

Regarding women in cricket, the fans and the ladies that work behind the scenes, how important is it to the game?

Answer: Yeah, well South Africa amazes me...the depth of following cricket that it has here. I find that in most of the countries that I've toured, although women do follow cricket, it's mainly the men who are prominent in the actual administration of the game. But over here, it's different and it's good. Obviously, it means that cricket is appealing to the whole public.

Question: Nilu

How do you rate Sir Richard Hadlee as against the contemporary allrounders ?

Answer: any generation through the history of cricket he would stand out as being absolutely top notch. He was a tremendous cricketer who won many games on his own, and it was a treat for me to be part of many of his record-breaking performances.

Question: Spoono

Care to predict series results for NZ-PAK, IND-RSA, and AUS-WI?

Answer: Well, each of the sides New Zealand, India and Australia have won the first Test of the series, which is a huge advantage. And although, I am a gambling man, I would not back against any of those three sides to maintain their advantage.

Question: yumm

What do you think of the Indian pace attack the current one and the one from past?

Answer: Prasad has surprised me. I faced him a couple of years ago and thought him to be just another medium-pacer, but he's really improved. Srinath has always had the ability to get good players out. India probably still lack back-up to those two, obviously preferring to play all their spin bowlers. In terms of the past, Kapil Dev is the only player I remember, and he was a world-class swing bowler, capable of bowling the unplayable delivery.

Question: William

Do you still keep in touch with the Otago great Neil Mallender? What is he up to now? Are you planning to come back to Otago cricket with VJ and now the very young Otago team?

Answer: Mallender... I haven't really kept in touch. I understand he is still playing county cricket in England. Mallender was behind the good performances of Otago during the 80's, and with VJ in charge of Otago cricket, I'm sure the young guys will get behind him and ensure that progress is made.

Question: mpant

Do you remember the match in which Chetan Sharma took a hat-trick and yours was the first of the 3 wickets?

Answer: Yeah, I remember that....fortunately I was the first (laughs). I remember us in the dressing room taking bets as Ewan Chatfield faced the third delivery of the hattrick, and not too many of us would have gambled on Ewan playing it out correctly!

Question: alwaysSA

Please compare provincial cricket in South Africa with cricket in New Zealand, and do you think Adam Bacher will make the test team this season?

Answer: South African first-class cricket is more professional than its New Zealand counterpart, and for that reason I believe the quality of the play is higher.'s going to be difficult. Hudson got a 100 in this Test and Gibbs did alright, so it is a question of where Adam can fit in..but certainly his form at the moment is staggering, and he is the form batsman in South Africa at the moment.

Question: Ark

Where was your most favourite place in the world to tour or did you prefer to play at home? PS: Come back to New Zealand and play.

Answer: Australia was my favourite place to tour mainly because I'm mad keen on horse-racing, and their horse racing is among the best in the world. And also because there's lots of Kiwis in Australia, so it's sort of like playing at home anyway.

Question: Zafy

Where did you enjoyed most and hated most playing cricket?

Answer: My two favourite grounds in the world are Molyneux Park in Alexandra and the Sydney Cricket Ground. Especially when New Zealand beats Australia at the SCG! Hated most...we always had problems in Sri Lanka with the bomb there in '87 which caused the team to go home and another bomb in '92 when we toured there. Although the people were extremely friendly, it wasn't a great climate to play your cricket under.

Question: Kash

Who do u think is the best one day international spinner today??

Answer: Warne's still quality...then you've got guys like Symcox and Kumble who are also extremely hard to get away.

Question: Saqlain is becoming really good as well.

Answer: I haven't really seen much of him.

Question: Frodo

The TAB has introduced betting on sports events. Will it be enough to lure you back to New Zealand?

Answer: (laughs) It's certainly a carrot to thrust in front of me. I understand it's creating a lot of interest, and it's probably about 2 or 3 years too late!

Question: Lahori

How will you rate the class of Wasim Akram, short run up, and plenty of variety with the same bowling action?

Answer: Yeah, he's extremely hard to face. He has got a real mix of deliveries, no two deliveries are the same, and when he's absolutely firing, he's a very very difficult guy to keep out.

Question: William

Backed any winners lately and when are you coming back to Dunedin?

Answer: I actually had a very bad day yesterday. The SA TAB has taken my money now. I'm coing back to Dunedin for two weeks in January just for a brief visit, and then I'll come back for most of the winter next year. Gotta watch the Highlanders at Carrisbrook, mate!

Question: Neera

Do u think there is anything wrong with India preparing spin pitches when that is their forte??

Answer: Neera: no, not at all, that's the prerogative of the home nation. Certainly in New Zealand when we had Hadlee during the 80's, we prepared low, seaming wickets. And it was succesful for us.

Question: Shez

Who would you rank as the best batsman these days?

Answer: Lara and Tendulkar... they've performed more consistently than anyone else, but I'd travel a long way to see Mark Waugh bat. The game looks pretty easy when he's going.

Question: Shash

You have been criticized for playing the uppish cut or late cut one time too many. Have you been working on that in South Africa or do you still have an uncontrolled tendency to play that shot?

Answer: I've been criticised for playing a number of shots actually. At times I guess I'm my own worst enemy, but it's amazing when batsmen get out playing forward defensive shots they're never criticised, but when you play an attacking shot you seem to attrect the wrath of everyone!

Question: Mavrik

Your comments on crowd behavior, personal experiences with crowds in India, Pakistan and Sharjah? And pick a current World One-day XI.

Answer: We've had problems in India and Pakistan in particular with crowds. they tend to get very emotional, very into the game. Peshawar, we had a problem there with the crowd throwing glass and stones and other objects onto the field, but in general I've enjoyed playing before those crowds, because they are very knowledgable, and they tend to know exactly what is happening in the game.

World one-day XI? Hmmm.. Tendulkar, M Waugh, Lara, S Waugh, Bevan, Cairns, Healy, Akram, Ambrose, Warne, Younis (off the top of my head!) Perhaps Aravinda for Steve Waugh

Question: Anand

What do you think of Greatbatch being replaced by Lee Germon as captain? And what did you think of the Indian opening pair of Gavaskar-Srikkanth? Particularly after their World Cup knock against New Zealand in '87?

Answer: I think Greatbatch only captained to give Germon a rest during a tour game, but I do believe that if Germon is replaced, Greatbatch would be the successor.

Very annoying opening pair! Gavaskar played outstandingly, it was a brilliant innings. He'd been known as an accumulator, but really unleashed a wide range of shots that day.

Question: Zafy

Were you ever in your career offered any money by a cricketing or non-cricketing figure directly, or indirectly, to influence the outcome of a match?

Answer: No, but I do know of other international captains who had been offered money, but I'd never be able to prove anything.

Question: alwaysSA

You've played all the really fast bowlers in the world. With respect to speed, where does Donald fit in ?

Answer: Yeah, he's up there. I've been really impressed over the last 2 or 3 years how he's refined his skill. He reminds me more and more of Hadlee and the way he went about his bowling.

Question: Mavrik

Would you share with us whom you were referring to when you mentioned about knowing other players being offered money?

Answer: Can't really do that! A lot of it was around the time when the Australian team was having problems in Pakistan, and there was a lot of conjecture flying around.

Question: Sailesh

In 8 tests (15 innings) against the Windies you averaged 6.78 with a highest score of 22, why did you find it so difficult to do well against them ?

Answer: My initial innings were in my first series. I hadnt had a lot of experience opening the batting, and to be put in against Marshall, Garner, Holding and Walsh was rather daunting.

Question: Anthony

Thanks for making the effort today! Would it be fair to say that Australia were and are your biggest rivals? Is there a lot of sledging - more than against other teams?

Answer: Yeah, Australia is certainly the country I enjoyed touring most and enjoyed playing against most. For any New Zealand sports team or sports person, it's the ultimate to play against them. Sledging...the Aussies do have a fair bit to say for themselves, but they also reward good play and I've found them to be quite fair.

Question: Dodger

With the increase in 1 day games and their spin offs (eights and sixes) will Test cricket die out in 10 years?

Answer: No, I actually believe that the past week has seen three very good Test matches across the world, and if anything, the increase in one-day cricket has brought about more enterprising Test matches. And I think the captains of each Test side need to be congratulated for perhaps playing in a more positive vein than perhaps in previous Test matches.

Azzie (moderator): Thank you for coming here and our best wishes to you, I am sure from all of us!!!

Ken: Thanks

Date-stamped : 07 Oct1998 - 04:33