Career Standout Moments: Blair Tickner

Thursday 7th March 2024

Test cricket is the pinnacle of a player’s career and memorable for the rest of their life.

Blair Tickner’s test debut should have been an occasion of full of enjoyment, going out on the pitch and displaying his bowling credentials for the world to see without distraction.

Unfortunately, Hawke’s Bay on New Zealand’s east coast was hit by Storm Gabrielle two days prior to his test debut, a place he calls home and where many friends and family members live.

Tickner’s father’s home was fully destroyed in the storm, much like many other homes in the Hawke’s Bay region.

For Tickner to not only play but perform so admirably on debut is quite remarkable.

The resurgent England side that had arrived in New Zealand recently adopted a new brand of positive cricket under coach Brendon McCullum and captain Ben Stokes, with Tickner and his fellow bowlers facing a stern test in the first test match of the series, a day-night match with a pink ball.

Tickner was no stranger to the international setup, having played 9 ODIs and 17 T20Is prior to his test debut.

The tall fast bowler removed the dangerous Ben Duckett for his maiden test wicket, forcing the set batter (84 off 68 balls) to drive a ball straight to the hands of Michael Bracewell at cover.

In a quite remarkable innings, England declared their first innings, on the first day, after just 58.2 overs with 325 on the board.

The aggression England had shown posed a great challenge to all the Kiwi bowlers, but after the New Zealand side batted, the deficit was only 19 runs.

Tickner got his chance to showcase his ability with the ball again in the second innings, claiming the best figures of the New Zealand bowlers with 3 for 55.

The right-armer had his man again in Duckett, forcing the opener to steer an edge to Tom Latham at slip.

Like all of his wickets, Tickner was once again full of passion and excitement, displaying his trademark celebration that Derbyshire supporters can get used to seeing this season.

His third and fourth test wickets were memorable ones as well, removing two brilliant batters in the form of Harry Brook and Ben Foakes.

Tickner seems to have a knack of creating openings against set batters, and this was the case again when he found the edge of Brook’s bat after an attacking 54 off 41 balls.

Foakes was the next man Tickner sent back to the pavilion, another great ball in the channel outside off stump which forced the wicketkeeper-batter to feather an edge behind to Tom Blundell with the gloves.

Tickner’s match figures of 4 for 127 in a high-scoring game and with the backdrop of off-field issues that must have been affecting many of the New Zealand players were a brilliant showing for his first game, which he quickly left to head back to help the relief effort in Hawke’s Bay.

Alongside his Central Stags teammates, they helped in the local community to support anyone in need of relief, with New Zealand cricket pledging to donate ticket proceeds towards the effort in Hawke’s Bay.

His debut will always be memorable for the cricketing side, but also for so many reasons. Tickner’s resolve and drive for team effort on and off the pitch says a lot about his character and exactly what Derbyshire supporters will get used to witnessing this summer.

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