Key keeps believing

Saturday 28th February 2009

By Charles Randall in Queenstown

THE vintage and classic car motor show at the Frankton cricket ground
on the day before England Lions’ opening four-day Test was so
impressive that if that level of quality were to be emulated on the
field all 22 players will be Test cricketers by the end of this year.

Local volunteers brought together more than 250 vehicles for public
viewing in aid of the Prostate Cancer Foundation of New Zealand, and
many of the vintage vehicles were still in normal use, which says
something about this country.

My own favourite was a 1933 grey-green Essex Terraplane Eight, a make
I had never heard of. Though large and heavy, it was apparently a high
performance car during its heyday while owned in Norway — nought to
60mph in 14.4 seconds. Wow!

The Test series against New Zealand A will be important for the Lions’
own classic car powerhouse Rob Key (pictured), who will be 30 in June and needs
to make big scores before another promotion to senior level passes him

The Lions had net practice in the morning close enough for a top-edged
hook potentially to to have damaged a modern Lamborghini, though it
would probably have needed a howitzer shell to put a dent in a
magnificent La Farge roadster nearby.

Mindful of Ravi Bopara’s successful trip from this New Zealand tour to
the Caribbean for his maiden Test hundred, Key said: "If I score a
stack load of runs it’s got to help to make England a little bit
closer. I’ve got to believe that or there’s no point in being here.

"From what I hear and see, you’re just a decent score away from
getting called up if someone gets injured, and obviously there are a
few people in the same boat out here.

"I’m probably in a slightly different position in that I’m one of the
older players now. The A tours have changed a little bit over the last
few years where they’re not predominantly a young side — it’s almost
the next-best England side. You go in and out of favour at times and
this will be a chance to get a little bit closer, I suppose. I didn’t
expect a senior call-up for the West Indies because I simply had not
had enough cricket in the winter."

One player who did not get selected for this Lions tour was Graham
Napier, the Essex all-rounder. He flew to New Zealand in any case to
play for the state team Wellington and he finished his stay this week
top of the country’s most valuable player table, mainly due to his
success with the ball in all formats.

Picture courtesy of Terry Mahoney