Wine, cigars, and a limousine ride to the top of Mt Victoria: Kiwis celebrate Wellington victory in style
Written by Sandip G
| Wellington |

Updated: February 25, 2020 7:17:53 am

Wine, cigars, and a limousine ride to the top of Mt Victoria: Kiwis celebrate Wellington victory in style New Zealand defeated India by 10 wickets in the opening encounter of the two-match Test collection. (REUTERS)

New Zealand wicketkeeper BJ Watling saved for simply a session, however his work for the day was removed from over. In the night, Watling had to flip by means of the listing of automobile leases, discover a glowing white limousine, purchase the most costly champagne in city, a case of Cuban cigars, and drive his bowlers to the top of Mount Victoria, the highest peak in Wellington, a two-kilometre ride from the Basin Reserve. It’s how New Zealand celebrate their Test wins at the venue.

But not all might cram into the automobile — simply the bowlers and the wicketkeeper – which suggests Watling might solely make area for man of the match Tim Southee, his trusted confederate Trent Boult, who ripped by means of India’s batting line-up in the second innings, spectacular debutant Kyle Jamieson and workaholic Colin de Grandhomme. When the night time units in, they’d uncork the champagne and increase a toast from the top of the mountain, from the place they may get a panoramic view of the metropolis, and its two cricket stadiums, Basin Reserve and Sky, separated by 16km.

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Though the Basin Reserve has a historical past of 90 years, the custom of the limousine ride began as late as 1998, when New Zealand beat India by 4 wickets in a thrilling Boxing Day Test, with Simon Doull taking seven wickets in the first innings and Dion Nash three, together with these of Sachin Tendulkar and Mohammad Azharuddin. “It was Nash I think who came up with the idea, a spontaneous idea. Mount Victoria is the highest point in the city and at night, it looks sparkling. Then out of a whim, they borrowed a limo and drove several rounds around the Basin Reserve before zooming off to the top of the mountain,” says former first-class cricketer and historian Don Neely.

But why not the batsmen? The limo can accommodate a complete staff and even the assist workers. But it’s simply the bowlers and the keeper. “The bowlers, you know, share a special bond, and of course, the ‘keeper is their best friend. So in that team, they always hung around together, Adam (Parore), Doully and Nash and the others. And they did something cheeky, and it became a tradition. It was a symbol of togetherness, a mutual thanksgiving,” elaborates former wicketkeeper Ian Smith.

What started as a cheeky celebration advanced into a hallowed custom, a stamp of approval for any up-and-coming bowler. In his autobiography, Looking Back, Shane Bond places it amongst his most unforgettable experiences. “I was initiated into another that made me feel that I am not a fly-by-nighter. The self-styled engine room of the team and the wicketkeeper would call for a limo to pick us up from the hotel. The first stop would be a bottle shop, then we will take a few laps around the Basin, the home of cricket in Wellington and one of the biggest traffic roundabouts in the world, before ending up with the champagne on top of Mount Victoria. It’s a nice idea and the engine room is highly sought after,” he has written.

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But not all bowlers are allowed entry. In 2002, once they once more beat India, batting all-rounder Scott Styris was in the foyer, all dressed up and ready for the limo. Then Daniel Vettori and the bowlers turned up and informed him to bugger off. Styris, the story goes, was gutted.

It’s fully the wicketkeeper’s discretion to choose his limo-mates, and usually he can be on the wheel. They principally want the night time when the mount wouldn’t be crowded, although it might get windy.

However, for 4 years there was no limo ride, for New Zealand didn’t win a single Test at the Basin Reserve from 2009 to 2013, a span in which they misplaced three and drew 4 of the seven Tests. Since then, they’ve received 5 of the 9 Tests. And the limo rides have change into extra frequent. Watling and the engine room will need to have had a quiet night atop the mount and a few loopy laps round the Basin Reserve.

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