On a rain-hit opening day of the first Test match between India and New Zealand, a 6’8″ tall pacer swept the hearts the crowd by a storm when he took three wickets, including the dismissal of Indian skipper Virat Kohli on Friday (February 21). He was the Kiwi sensation, Kyle Jamieson.
Growing up, the curiosity and stares made New Zealander feel awkward but his father Michael was never too worried as he knew his imposing son would be famous for his achievements.
The 25-year-old has made quite a start in trying to live up to his father’s prediction, scalping the peerless Kohli and the dogged Cheteshwar Pujara on his Test career debut in Wellington.
“His towering height was a reason of curiosity for his peers even when he was at school and he used to feel awkward as to why people would just stare at him,” a smiling Michael Jamieson recalled about his son.
“I simply told Kyle that if they are staring at you, one day you will certainly become famous,” he said with his smile turning into laughter.
Jamieson senior savoured every moment of his son’s memorable Test debut in which he snared 3/38 on day one.
“Getting Virat Kohli and a player of Cheteshwar Pujara’s calibre out, it doesn’t get better,” said Michael while talking to PTI.
Clad in grey shorts and a navy blue T-shirt, the mechanical engineer from Auckland hardly stood out among fans as he landed on Friday to be on time for his son’s Test debut.
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“My wife Sheryl missed out today. I am lucky. I hope he has a long career for New Zealand. What I have loved about him is his ability to give 100 percent. He played basketball as well but at 17, he decided to become a professional cricketer,” the proud father said.
“He told me that he wanted to give it a try and even if he isn’t successful, he could have got back to academics. He has a bachelor’s degree in commerce with specialisation in Supply Chains Management. But then, academics is an option to fall back on if he didn’t make it as a cricketer.”
So did Jamieson junior get any tips from his old man?
“Nothing from him this morning, he was actually on a flight so I didn’t get any words of wisdom. Special for him to be here as he’s had such a massive influence on my career growing up and when I started,” Kyle said.
“I am sure I’ll have a conversation with him tonight,” he added after end of day’s play when asked about Michael’s presence.
“I am the one sitting here but it’s as much their journey as mine. I am sure he’s pretty proud and I am certainly very lucky to have him here,” the all-rounder said and one could sense the emotion in his tone.
The father said that during their backyard cricket, it was always he who batted and the son bowled.
“I still play cricket. During our backyard matches, I used to bat and he would bowl.”
Jamieson had put his name up for IPL but went unsold at the auctions and his international debut happened less than two months later.
“He took 6/7 in a T20 game between Auckland and Canterbury and we had then thought that IPL franchise talent spotters may be looking at him. But it didn’t happen this time. May be next year,” said Jamieson senior as he trudged back into the ‘Long Room’.
(With inputs from agencies)