Dan McGrath sits down with former New Zealand wicketkeeper turned Wellington Community Cricket Manager Chris Nevin.
New Zealand has never been one for tearaway quicks. These days, Adam Milne bowls more like Gavin Larsen-on-steroids than Jeff Thomson. Shane Bond was a contemporary of Brett Lee, but infinitely more fragile. And as for Richard Sherlock, well, it might be best to pretend that never happened. But a decade before, there was another. He well and truly deserved to be called the Wild Thing, an enigma whose pace stood head-and-shoulders above all else on the Kiwi scene. Wellington’s own cult hero, Heath Davis.
The Barmy Army, all too fond of the “he bowls to the left, he bowls to the right” chants directed at 2010-era Mitchell Johnson, would have needed to be far more creative in describing Davis. On his day he was devastating but, when he wasn’t (which was more often than not), could he bowl shite.
But this is not the story of Heath Davis. This is the story of someone who had to handle his unique combination of speed and unerring inaccuracy on a daily basis. The man standing 20 yards behind the terrified batsman, dropping in with the occasional sledge while flinging himself all over the place, risking broken fingers every time he had to reel in yet another wide (or safely pouching an edge, when they did come).
That man? Chris Nevin.
“Heath was great. He was fast. I played for the Wellington Under-20s side when I was 16 years old, and I’d played a couple of trials when Heath was a little bit injured, so he wasn’t at full pace. I remember we played our first match of the tournament — and it was always on a local basis, so Wellington played Central Districts — and we played at a local ground called Kilbirnie Park. Back then it was the hardest and fastest club ground in Wellington.
“I remember ‘keeping to him, that first time I ‘kept to him when he was at full pace, and it was like ‘wow’. It was at a completely different level to anything else I’d ever done before. I remember at the end of the first session coming off the ground and my hands were blue, they were just bruised everywhere.
“As a young fella he was fast, he was scary, a lot of people just hated facing him. I don’t know whether he just didn’t get any quicker or got slower — my brother used to play a lot with him and said he was as fast at 16 as he was at 22, and I guess at 130-140km/h as a 16-year old you’re going to scare a lot of people. But as you move up through the grades and people become more used to the pace it becomes less of an issue. But certainly with those first experiences with him, I was glad I was 20 yards further back than the batsmen were.”
Nevin’s voice sounds fresh, crisp almost. He’s looking back, but it doesn’t feel like nostalgia; there’s no sense that his memory is focussed on a better time, just a different one. His memories seem coloured by his present contentedness, a recollection of a time since passed — a chapter fondly remembered, but need not be re-opened. He is not trading on past glories.
He’s still at the Basin, but the hallowed turf has since been swapped for the air-conditioned offices. There’s a receptionist, a telephone extension. Leadership manifests in emails and meetings, not mid-pitch chats. The on-field everyman — wicketkeeper, senior player, batsman, potential captain — is no more. Meet Chris Nevin, Community Cricket Manager.
“I love the role. When I finished playing I did a season of coaching, but I think I found out that the actual coaching side of things wasn’t really for me. So I was looking around for what to do, and the role of Women’s Coordinator at Cricket Wellington came up, and that was purely looking after the women’s game. I did that for about 12 months, then moved into a junior role, which was again just looking after junior cricket — club cricket, school cricket, age-group representative tournaments. That was fantastic, and again it was a role I was in for about 12 months. Then I took over as Community Cricket Manager, responsible for the oversight of junior cricket and women’s cricket and senior club cricket, and all the coaching and development that goes on [at that level].”
Nevin’s job is something he feels strongly about, he’s clearly passionate in his desire to make cricket in Wellington — as well as New Zealand and the world more broadly — a far more inclusive, welcoming, and sustainable endeavour. From forming structures and pathways for junior talent, or placing an emphasis on the nascent professionalisation of the women’s game, to assisting in the development of the game in Fiji, all of Nevin’s work is aimed at achieving this goal.
“A lot of the major associations in New Zealand have relationships with Pacific Islands, and Wellington’s major relationship is with Fiji. So every year we’ll send one of our development staff over to Fiji, depending on what their needs are at the time. One of our guys went over to focus on coaching and development, training up teachers and their development staff so they can give a better experience to the kids that are playing cricket. It’s fantastic, it was a great experience for me; it was the first time I’ve been to Fiji and I was able to watch some of their programs they run in the schools, and be able to work with their development manager who was just new in the role, giving them some ideas about improvements they can make or things they can add to the programs that they already offer, to give a better experience.
“Cricket’s certainly growing over there, and the team is starting to do really well as well — their Under-19s won the qualifying World Cup which was great for them. Some good things are happening over there and it’s certainly a relationship we enjoy, in trying to grow their game.”
But Nevin the Community Cricket Manager did not come about in a vacuum. Rather, it was Nevin’s career — the ups and downs, the successes and failures, the years of professional experience — that left him so well suited to spreading the game of cricket.
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The story begins in the early-1990s. In December of 1991, Nevin was rising through the Wellington junior ranks, a fresh-faced 16-year-old talent selected to represent the province at a national Under-20s tournament — keeping wicket to the much older, much faster Davis, no less. Ervin McSweeney was Wellington’s First Class ‘keeper at the time, a stalwart, nay, a journeyman; an institution in his own right. The concept of a Wellington team without him was unthinkable and so, after his retirement at the conclusion of the 1993/94 summer, Wellington was overcome by inertia. No succession planning; never a need for a back-up. It was a hole that would take some filling.
By Christmas of 1995, nobody had come remotely close to closing the void left by the departure of McSweeney. Wellington didn’t want a stop-gap, nor an import to paper over the cracks, they wanted a solution.
In the 20-year-old Chris Nevin, just graduated from the New Zealand Under-19s, Wellington thought they had their man. Still little more than a talented youngster, it was sink-or-swim when he made his debut on New Years Day of 1996. Under the captaincy of the ever-economical Gavin Larsen, and sharing a dressing room with Richard Petrie, Nevin kept wickets and batted at #10. His opponents, Auckland, were led by future NZC CEO Justin Vaughan and featured Dipak Patel — he of 1992 World Cup fame — as well as current Northern Districts coach James Pamment. Despite the predominance of journeymen on the field, the cricket was nothing like your standard sleepy domestic fare.
“It was probably very different to what people are doing nowadays, back then we were very much amateur players. I remember we had an A program, which was like the Second XI, and we used to travel around the country pretty much mirroring what the First Class team was doing. I was down in Canterbury playing a three-day game against their Second XI when I got the call to come and play for the Wellington side. I had a one day game at the Basin Reserve which was an amazing experience, it was back in the day when we still got good [domestic] crowds.
“We had about 6,500 people there and the game itself was amazing. It was a tied game, I went out to bat on a hat-trick, so yeah it was all the things you dream of with a big crowd and a tied match to start the career off. And from there you’d go back to whatever else you were doing, whether it was work or studying. And then you’d turn up on Tuesday at five o’clock for training and you’d turn up on Thursday at five o’clock and that was the experience back then.
“If you look at how things have progressed, it’s morning gym sessions and then you do an individual skills session, and then have a team training in the afternoon, so its actually full days of cricket instead of a couple of trainings per week. So that’s a massive, massive change from back when I first started.”
A one day match between New Zealand’s two biggest cities on New Years Day just had to find a way to be an event, even with the international stars lacking.
“We were playing Auckland and they had a few international players at the time. We were batting first and [just before I went out to bat] two wickets fell on the fifth and sixth ball of the over. I didn’t face a ball in the next over, so I wasn’t even aware it was a hat-trick ball at the time. So it was quite funny, I think my first ball was a leg bye but there was a big appeal for LBW, and it wasn’t until I came off that somebody actually told me it was a hat trick ball.
“To have a tied game [on debut] was pretty nerve-wracking. It was only about four runs needed off the last over, there were a couple of swings and misses, and I had to stand a little bit closer in case they tried to run byes. So for a 20-year-old making his debut it was something I’ll never forget for sure.”
Roger Twose also played in that match, a senior player with copious experience in white-ball cricket who made Nevin feel welcome in the dressing room, and would become a strong influence on his career. For it was he who made a tactical decision that would completely alter Nevin’s career trajectory. Until now a lower order batsman picked on the strength of his glovework, Nevin was shifted to the top of the order, intended as a momentum-shifting pinch-hitter. Twose’s call immediately paid dividends, Nevin slammed 149 from only 115 balls from #3 to almost single-handedly lead Wellington to victory over Central Districts at the Basin.
“Roger Twose was a huge influence on my career. In a lot of ways he was ahead of his time, very innovative with the way he tried to do things. I think it was my second season of playing — I’d always batted around #10 for the first season I played for Wellington — and they decided that they needed to do something up at the top of the order. The coach was pretty keen on having somebody else do the pinch-hitting role, but Roger said to the coach ‘no, I think Chris should do it’.
“I think it was the first game of the following season, and the plan was that if a particular player got out [first] I’d go in, if not I’d drop back down the order. And anyway we lost both openers with no runs on the board and I came in to bat, at the end I’d scored 149 in my first game pinch hitting.
“It was certainly something I won’t forget — that first go up the order — but it was something influenced by Roger Twose. The way he went about things, he made you fit into a team really well, he was always really encouraging and positive and very innovative. So he was a huge influence on the early part of my career and I loved playing alongside him.”
Nevin’s shift up the order came a full month before Steve Waugh would apply a similar tactic, deciding over a bowl of ice cream that Adam Gilchrist would open the batting and attack the new ball. That decision arguably changed the face of ODI cricket forever — the tactic pioneered by Greatbatch and Jayasuriya became institutionalised; the conventional wisdom. However, Nevin distances himself from the somewhat facetious comment that he inspired the Gilchrist move and that he ought be owed some credit for its success.
“I don’t think I can stake any claim to having inspired Adam Gilchrist. He was incredible — I can’t remember when he started playing and becoming noticed on the world stage for Australia, but watching him play was always something I tried to aspire to, though I never reached the heights he did. But yeah, he was an incredible player to watch, and every time I watched him it would motivate me to try to lift my game.”
If Nevin was established in the Wellington team before the 149, his place was cemented in it afterwards. He’d proven a competent — and ever-improving — replacement for McSweeney. And after an innings that commanded that much attention, it was never going to be long until the New Zealand selectors came calling.
It all seemed organic as Nevin twisted and curled his way through the ranks, the step up to international honours seemed a mere formality, even as Adam Parore ensured New Zealand were well-served in the wicketkeeping department. The call finally came in 2000, but it was to be a baptism of fire. His debut opponents: Waugh and Gilchrist’s Australia, not far removed from their remarkable 1999 World Cup victory. It is not a moment Nevin could ever forget.
“I think it was a six-match series, and around game two or three Adam Parore had taken a knock during one of the games on the South Island and I was put on standby to fly down. I was in the middle of a First Class game for Wellington, and I didn’t have much of a clue if I was even in the frame for New Zealand — I just got a phone call as I was leaving for the four-day game for Wellington that said ‘look, you need to get down to Christchurch’. So it was a quick dash into the Basin Reserve to pick up my gear, and by the time I got to the Basin I’d got a call back saying ‘don’t worry, he’s fine now.’ So it was the high of being called into the New Zealand team immediately followed by the low of ‘sorry, you’re not needed at the moment’. But that was great because I immediately realised that I was in the frame for New Zealand selection.
“It was game five that I got called up and batted at #8. I went out to face my first ball against Glenn McGrath and, not surprisingly, it was a bouncer. So I got that out of the way and then pushed a single down to mid on to get my first international run, which was a huge thing. Playing against the Aussies is something every New Zealander wants to do and I was lucky enough to play my first game against them, which was pretty cool. You look around the field and there’s Steve Waugh and Mark Waugh and Adam Gilchrist and Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne — incredible players you’d looked up to for such a long time, and here I was on the same field with them, which was an amazing experience.”
The next match, he was elevated to open as New Zealand looked to chase 191 to earn themselves a consolation victory in a dead rubber. Nevin showed his ability, compiling 74 to set up the chase, before captain Stephen Fleming and — fittingly — Twose completed the job.
“During that series there were a few different combinations tried at the top of the order and we’d always been one or two wickets down for not too many. So game six came around, we were 5-0 down in the series, and I got called into Stephen Fleming’s room before the game and was told ‘look, we’re going to try you out at the top of the order. Good luck.’
“I was sitting in my hotel room the night before that game, watching a bit of footage on the computer thinking ‘good god I’m going out to face Brett Lee and Glenn McGrath at Eden Park in front of a big crowd. How am I going to do this?’ You’ve got a guy like Brett Lee who bowls at 150km/h and I’d never faced anything like it before. I was sort of thinking ‘what the hell am I going to do?’ and had to sit there trying to talk myself up, trying to make myself believe I could actually do it.
“I remember when I went out to bat — Australia had made about 190 in the first dig, Damien Martyn made a pretty good hundred — and Andrew Symonds and Matt Hayden came over to me as I was taking my guard, just to tell me that I probably wasn’t going to do very well today. The words weren’t quite to that effect, but it sort of put doubts in my mind thinking ‘Oh my god am I actually good enough to come out here and face McGrath and Lee in a One Day International?’
“Thankfully, it came off pretty well — I made 70-odd and we won the game as well, which was a good way to finish the series. But it was a great start for me personally in my first game at the top of the order.”
It was a breakout innings; Chris Nevin had arrived at international level, he’d proven his doubts unfounded. He was here to stay.
Or, at least, that’s how the narrative should have gone. The reality was far different; in fact, that 74 would remain Nevin’s highest international score. The back-and-forth battle with Parore combined with injuries, the vagaries of form and, to some extent, the lack of a clear role to curtail what might have been; not every international career sticks to the script, not every player gets their happy ending.
“Most of the time I was either opening or at #3, but sometimes I was playing as a specialist batsman, other times as a ‘keeper-batsman. After those first couple of games I got injured, I missed a series, then I went back in for another series, got injured again, came out, went back in again. And I guess every time I went out to play I felt like I was playing for my spot, so I never had that confident feeling that I could just go out and play.
“You look at the way the New Zealand side have gone now and there’s been a lot of consistency in selection — players have basically been given the freedom to play the way they want to play. From my own perspective, I never felt like I was able to play the way I wanted to play, or I should have played or the way I knew how I could play, because I was always feeling that I was under pressure for my spot in the side. It does make you tighten up a little, which wasn’t the way I played. So if I have one regret looking back at my career, its that I didn’t go out and play my natural game all the time.
“Looking back at the first couple of games, that’s exactly what I did. First coming into the side, nobody knows much about you, the opposition bowlers haven’t seen footage of you by that time. I suppose it almost gives you freedom because you don’t have the fear of failure. But once you’ve had that taste of success and you really want to be there, and you’ve missed a couple of series through injury, and you’re always battling to stay in the side — you do tighten up, and that was the difficult part for me.”
Nevin himself admits that, rightly or wrongly, he never quite fulfilled his potential. But the hints were always there, both that he had an international future and that the selectors clearly recognised it. His dual abilities, as a highly skilled gloveman and dynamic batsman, pointed to a spot in New Zealand’s long term plans. You don’t captain the New Zealand Academy to tour Australia — while nursing a nagging groin injury that left him unable to keep wickets comfortably — if people don’t think you have a bright future.
“[I went on that Academy tour after] I’d missed about two or three months with a groin problem, which took a long time to get diagnosed. I was able to do certain things but the wicketkeeping movements I couldn’t do. And it was actually on that tour that I saw a specialist over there after I re-aggravated it, and it kept me out for another two or three months when I got home after that tour. So with my injury history, there was generally another wicketkeeper on tour with me, which I suppose didn’t help because you always had someone else there who was breathing down your neck all the time — it can be a good or a bad thing, and for me it certainly wasn’t a good thing.”
That Australian development squad was filled with talent — Marcus North, James Hopes, Scott Kremerskothen — and on both sides there were players who would go on to international success, and many who would remain unfulfilled. The following year’s squad was similar — Michael Clarke, Phil Jaques, Shane Watson and Adam Voges all featuring for the Australians — but it was a lesser known player making for a standout memory
“I remember Matt Nicholson played a game, and he smashed a ball to cover off the toe of the bat, and the bat actually broke in half. The ball rolled out to Lou Vincent at cover, and he threw the ball back and hit the stumps directly. But Nicholson only had half a bat and [as] he tried to get the bat down he couldn’t reach the ground. So he was run out and the whole team were basically rolling around on the ground laughing at this guy trying [and failing] to put half a bat back into his crease.”
Development squads and ‘A’ tours are all about preparing players for international cricket, but Nevin’s thoughts are mixed:
“When you get the exposure against the different players and in different conditions, it all helps when you get into the full international side, but I guess its the external things that all of a sudden come into play when you make the step up. Things you haven’t experienced before — the crowds, the media exposure that’s all around you, and I guess you put it on yourself but all of a sudden you feel more pressure because there’s more people watching and more people taking an interest. It doesn’t matter what you played previously, those can be the things that are hardest to adjust to.”
In part, he was pigeonholed as a white ball specialist, however when Parore lost his passion for the game and retired from international cricket in 2002, most expected Nevin to slot in seamlessly. Alas, it was not to be; Robbie Hart gained selection in spite of Nevin’s sheer weight of runs and dismissals. Reading the statistics alone, it seems a confounding decision — Nevin had broken McSweeney’s dismissals records that summer, and also stacked up over 500 runs. But statistics do not tell the whole story:
“Not playing Test cricket was purely down to my performances. In 2003, [when Adam Parore and I were both in and out of the one day side], he was looking at stepping down. Against England over here, I played the one day series that ran prior to the Test series, and if I did well there, it was a very real possibility that I’d be picked to play the Test series that followed. But unfortunately I didn’t have a great series with the gloves, which was going to be one of the main things I needed to do well going into the Test side.
“On the back of that they didn’t have the trust in me to say ‘yeah, he can ‘keep in a Test match’. I just had a bad series at the wrong time. A lot of what happens in life, not just in sport, comes down to timing and being in the right place at the right time, and unfortunately I was at the wrong place at the right time. It’s a frustration, but you move on from it pretty quickly.”
While it was obvious that Nevin dearly wanted the opportunity to represent his country — one is hard pressed to find examples of those who do not — that desire was tempered by a heavy dose of realism; whether he’d made the XI over Robbie Hart or not, the position was never going to be his for long. The seat needed to be kept warm for the long-appointed heir apparent, Brendon McCullum.
“Right from a young age, there was an Under-19 series against Australia in New Zealand, and [McCullum] did some great things in that and from there he was earmarked. He played a couple of games [for New Zealand] as a batsman when I was the wicketkeeper-batsman, but you could see from pretty early on that he was going to be playing for New Zealand. I didn’t think about it at the time, but looking back on it now, if I’d got the role in the Test side it was probably only going to be a caretaker role until Brendon was ready.”
Despite this, Nevin was one of the most consistent performers in New Zealand domestic cricket. In 2000/01, he scored over 500 runs and demolished McSweeney’s long-standing dismissals record — claiming a scarcely-believable 50 scalps behind the stumps in one summer. In 2002/03 and 2003/04 he repeated his heroics, twice more breaking the 500 runs and 30 dismissals barriers. His record compared favourably with almost everyone in New Zealand.
“My domestic record did stack up well against most, in terms of wicketkeeper batsmen, but during my opportunities with New Zealand I didn’t quite grasp them as well as I could have. At the time I felt like I was harshly treated, but looking back on it and my actual record when playing for New Zealand, it just didn’t stack up to warrant more games.”
With the advent of McBaz, who began his record-breaking streak of 101 consecutive Tests from debut in March of 2004, Nevin was forced to accept that his chance of further representing New Zealand had passed him by; McCullum would have a monopoly on the position until his degenerating back forced him to give up the gloves for good in March 2010. As McCullum played his final match as New Zealand’s full-time Test wicketkeeper, perhaps it was ironic that, 391 kilometres down the road, Nevin donned the whites and gloves at his beloved Basin for the final time.
It was anything but a fairytale finish; the exact opposite of the farewell offered Baz, a hyper-aggressive Dunedin cowboy riding off into the sunset. There was no ‘Summer of Nevin’ in Wellington. There was no glamourous final series, no record-breaking slogged century. There were (thankfully) no critical Mark Reason op-eds. Nobody knew that this would be the end of Chris Nevin. Not even Nevin himself. Even the Wellington administration didn’t seem to know — they’d offered him the captaincy for the following season!
“I got called into the Cricket Wellington offices about a month before the contracts were announced, and I was told I wasn’t going to get a contract that year . That was a tough time, I didn’t have much of an indication that was going to happen, in fact I remember that during the end-of-season review I was asked if I was interested in taking over the captaincy, so there was never any indication that I wasn’t in the frame for a contract at all.”
In yet another curious twist, a retirement story that keeps on giving, Nevin would almost immediately make a comeback. Ahead of the HRV Cup, Nevin had simply been making too many runs too quickly. He was impossible to leave out. He slammed 35 at a strike rate of above 200 on return, quickly reclaimed the gloves from Joe Austin-Smellie, and provided handy lower-order cameos throughout the tournament. Perhaps it was an emblematic way to end his career.
“It was a really difficult time, I wanted to carry on playing that following season. I played club cricket to try to force my way back in. I had a couple of T20 trials prior to the T20 comp and did pretty well in them, so I ended up playing the whole T20 comp that year. And that was pretty much it for me. I suppose, while I still said I wanted to play, but I wasn’t putting in the work required. I wasn’t training or going to the gym nearly as much [as I needed to].
“Deep down I think I still wanted to play, but I wasn’t able to put in the time and the effort that was required to meet the demands of the modern day cricketer. I’m not sure I was prepared to work hard enough to get back into the team anyway.”
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Nevin had spent the intervening period with his efforts focused squarely on Wellington. As he became one of the senior heads in the dressing room, his goals were twofold: win silverware for his team, and ensure the team was a welcoming and inclusive place for new members of the team. The former came from a competitive drive, a personal and communal striving for excellence. The latter was borne out of his experiences as a young player in the sheds: while Nevin himself never had issues fitting into the dressing room, some of the players who arrived not long after him had very different introductions.
“I know from some of the other guys who came into the side a couple of years [after me] — the likes of James Franklin, Jeetan Patel — speaking to them later in their careers, they found it a really hard dressing room to come into, because there were some very dominating figures [around]. They found it hard to find their niche for a long time. So one of the things I wanted to do when I was a senior player was to make it as easy as possible to let people come in and make them feel welcome, and make them feel like their opinion counted as well […] When James and Jeetan came in they felt like they had to sit in the corner and be quiet; if they had an opinion they didn’t want to speak up because they’d just be shot down.”
But it wasn’t just off the field that Nevin was showing his value to Wellington — in fact, he continued to be one of the team’s best performers on the park.
“I was always in the frame for a few years, before I realised that time had passed me by and this was going to be my lot — and sometimes it can take you a little bit longer than it probably should for you to realise that. [I was] trying to do things to get back into the New Zealand side, and eventually I realised [I wasn’t] going to play for New Zealand again, so [I had to] decide what I wanted to do — and that was win titles for Wellington. So that became my focus by about the mid-2000s.”
Wellington went on an extended run of strong Plunket Shield results — between 2000/01 and 2005/06, Wellington made the final every year. They missed out in 2006/07, but were straight back into the action the following season. They only converted two of the seven finals appearances into title wins, and struggled to make a major mark in white ball competitions, but nevertheless Nevin’s influence was obvious: the two years Wellington won the Shield were Nevin’s strongest, and only twice did he average below 30 with the bat (and one of those years was interrupted by his international exploits). His consistent middle order batting combined with his glovework to act as a linchpin for the team; the stats, good as they are, belie his importance.
In some ways, it is unsurprising that as Nevin moved off the field and out of the Wellington high performance sphere, that on-field results dropped. Those summers of the early- and mid-2000s are a far cry from Wellington’s recent output. It draws into focus just how crucial a figure Nevin was.
That being said, if Nevin’s influence over Wellington’s performance on the field at all translates to his off-field role, perhaps a turnaround is slowly creeping through the pathways. It wouldn’t be at all surprising; the goals of Nevin’s post-playing career are remarkably similar to those he espoused in the dressing room — fostering a culture of excellence through personal development and participation.
“For me, it’s all about trying to pass on the love for the game that we all have; people who work in cricket circles have a deep-seated love for cricket, so its very easy for them to be able to pass on that love for the game. It’s just about tweaking things so that its enjoyable for everyone who takes part, and we’re hopeful that we’re going to see a boost in numbers after the 2015 World Cup — the way the team performed certainly raised the profile of cricket in New Zealand, and that will without doubt have positive effects for community cricket for New Zealand and Wellington in particular.”
Though, despite a rewarding stint in the Netherlands (“it was great for me in terms of being able to see that I enjoyed coaching […] and with the kids who don’t have a huge background in cricket, you can see the gains really quickly”), he decided coaching wasn’t for him, perhaps Nevin wasn’t just about diving around after Heath Davis wides after all. No, it’s the development and outreach that makes Chris Nevin tick. Perhaps this is his calling.