Oram spurred by press jibe
by Cricket Archive Staff Reporter
DateLine: 1st February 2007
New Zealand all-rounder Jacob Oram used a jibe in the Australian press
as a spur to produce the fastest century by a Kiwi batsman in one-day
Writing in The Australian newspaper on January 23, Andrew Ramsey
described Oram, who had just rejoined the New Zealand squad after
injury, as a "poor man's Chris Cairns", referring to the big-hitting
former Kiwi all-rounder. The often injury-plagued 28-year-old responded
with successive career-best performances with the bat.
The towering all-rounder made 86 against England in Adelaide last week
and then smashed his maiden one-day international century against the
Australians at the WACA on Sunday, making 101 not out. Oram, who
averages just a fraction under 40 with the bat in Test cricket, took
just 71 balls to reach his century and cleared the fence six times in
New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming said the comment in The Australian
had stung Oram into action.
"He was irked by one of the press calling him a 'poor man's Chris
Cairns'," Fleming said. "That really spurred him, surprisingly, because
he is a fine player. He can strike the ball as well as anyone in world
cricket," Fleming said.
Ironically, Cairns was one of the previous record holders for New
Zealand's fastest limited-overs century, he and Craig McMillan both
making 75-ball hundreds. Oram's innings was also the fastest ever
limited-overs hundred against Australia.
Fleming conceded Oram, who has taken 100 wickets in 89 games, was yet
to regain his best form with the ball, his seamers costing 50 runs from
just five overs against Australia on Sunday. However, Fleming is
confident Oram's bowling will improve as he plays more games and will
further strengthen their team.
"We'd like a little more with the ball and that would give us more
options in terms of the two spinners," he said. "But with the bat, and
his off-field contribution, it is great to have him back."
Australian wicketkeeper-batsman Adam Gilchrist, no stranger himself to
batting blitzkriegs, said Oram was one of the best strikers of the ball
in world cricket and compared him to Andrew Symonds. "He is a very
clean hitter and strong bloke," he said. "It seems like his mis-hits go
for six. He's in the same category as Andrew Symonds I think.