Jock Edwards, the former Black Caps wicketkeeper, passed away on Monday (April 6) at the age of 64.
Edwards, popular for his big-hitting prowess, made his debut as a specialist batsman against the visiting Australians in 1977 at Christchurch and sprung into the limelight in the next game at Auckland when he smashed an attack comprising of Dennis Lilee and Max Walker to register a half-century in just 47 balls.
When the English came over the following year, he was handed over the gloves, and he celebrated it with two fifties in either innings of the Auckland Test of 1978. However, on the tour to England later that year, his shoddy glovework came under severe criticism, and a dip in his batting consistency too, saw him being dropped from the national side for three years. He did return, but played the last of his eight Tests against the touring Indian side in 1981, before the emergence of Ian Smith forced him into exile for good.
He also played six ODIs in those five years, and opened the batting on debut to score a 57-ball 41 to guide New Zealand to a nine-wicket win against the Indians.
In a twelve-year-long domestic career, Edwards played a key role in the dominance of Nelson in the interzonal Hawke Cup. Fitting, the Central Stags Cricket Association took to Twitter to pay their glowing tribute.
“All the team at CD extend our heartfelt condolences to the family & friends of Jock Edwards. An absolute legend of Nelson Cricket who played 8 Tests & 6 ODIs for the BlackCaps [NZ] & represented Central Stags [CD] in 67 first-class matches & 31 one-dayers in the 70s/80,” they wrote.
“A wicketkeeper-batsman, Jock was a mainstay of one of Nelson’s great Hawke Cup eras, holding the Cup in a 14-match tenure from February 1979 to February 1983. He once hit a yorker from Ewen Chatfield into the lake at Pukekura Park in New Plymouth & famously once put one over the Trafalgar Park grandstand that landed in the back of a Transport Nelson truck. The driver found the ball when he got to Blenheim. Jock also scored a 99 at the same ground for CD vs Australia, and reached 5 first-class 100s among 92 first-class games in all.
“Jock was a terrific teammate and an entertainer in the game whom we know will be hugely missed. Rest in peace, Jock.”