Ex-NZ pacer Ewen Chatfield enjoying his ride as corporate cabbie

Updated: Feb 26, 2020, 07:51 IST | Vimal Kumar | Wellington

A lot of past Indian cricketers are sometimes bitter and even jealous to see the current generation making pots of money after playing only a few matches, but not this genial Kiwi.

Former New Zealand fast bowler Ewen Chatfield in his cab in Wellington. Pic/Vimal Kumar
Former New Zealand fast bowler Ewen Chatfield in his cab in Wellington. Pic/Vimal Kumar

During the first Test at the Basin Reserve, local hero Ewen Chatfield was honoured in a special way. The new players' pavilion (which was opened in December 2018) was named after him.

The signage was already up a day before the Test began and Chatfield (whose record 403 first-class wickets for Wellington still stands) was the guest of honour at lunch on Day One of the Test to officially unveil it. Chatfield managed to watch just six sessions of the match as his job kept him occupied for most part of the day.

The local hero drives a cab in this city—something that will surprise many in our part of the world. However, Chatfield, 69, is happy to earn his livelihood in this manner, and insists age is no deterrent. "You always have bills to pay. I am getting to a stage now where I am unemployable, so this job suits me. I can drive three hours a day or even for a whole day, and can watch cricket when I want," said the former fast bowler who played 43 Tests for New Zealand from the mid 1970s to late 80s.

A lot of past Indian cricketers are sometimes bitter and even jealous to see the current generation making pots of money after playing only a few matches, but not this genial Kiwi. "Are you envious of the present generation's wealth," this correspondent asked, while riding along in Chatfield's Corporate Taxi here. "No, I am not," came the reply. "I didn't have any say when I was born. I was happy to play for New Zealand," added Chatfield, who took 140 wickets in 114 ODIs and still is among one of the most economical (3.57) bowlers.

Chatfield was known to be an effective new-ball partner to Sir Richard Hadlee for over a decade. These days, however, the former pacer doesn't follow cricket much at home but does have an opinion on India's pacers from the little he has seen of them in the first Test.

"I don't have Sky TV at home so I don't see these guys in the IPL or Tests around the world. I saw [Jasprit] Bumrah, [Mohammed] Shami and Ishant [Sharma] for the first time. They will be a tougher proposition in the second Test at Christchurch, I'm sure," said Chatfield, who cheated death 45 years ago when he was hit by a bouncer by England's Peter Lever. The England team's physiotherapist Bernard Thomas played a major role in saving his life.

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