DateLine: 19th February 2007
He has a splendid record in both forms of the game but Nathan Astle will be remembered most fondly for one truly great innings. And this as everyone associated with the game knows came about in the Test against England at Christchurch in 2001-02. It was not just because he hit the fastest double century in Tests taking only 153 balls to reach the landmark. It was the manner in which he flayed the bowlers with a series of dazzling big hits in a losing cause adding 118 runs with Chris Cairns for the last wicket before getting out for 222. But then the knock was typical of Astle who is an assured batsman in both forms of the game. Indeed, he can be classed as an all rounder for he is a more than useful medium pace bowler and a specialist slip fielder. His record in ODIs is second to none and with 16 hundreds - more than any other New Zealand batsman – allied to 7000 runs and a strike rate of 72 he is arguably the country’s best ever one day batsman. Another New Zealander who is a familiar face around the county circuit Astle is a natural stroke-player who plays all the shots in the book and innovates brilliantly in the shorter version of the game.