Cricket and summer are perfect NZ match

Whether played in the backyard, or at the beach, on TV or the radio, cricket is the quintessential ingredient for a good old fashioned Kiwi summer.

It's a hangover from New Zealand's colonial past when settlers brought a love of the 'gentleman's game' with them and, since the early 19th century, cricket has continued to hold its own as an iconic part of a Kiwi summer.

Cricket enjoys an enthusiastic following in New Zealand. With around 100,000 registered players, it is the biggest summer sport - more popular than tennis or golf.

And, with an abundance of open spaces, New Zealand's landscape is ideal for cricket pitches.

New Zealand BLACKCAPS

Support for the national side - the New Zealand BLACKCAPS - remains strong, even in the face of inconsistent form.

One-day matches are the most popular version of the game, but test matches are still popular with fans who insist it is the pure version of the game. As with many other cricketing nations, the even shorter twenty20 game is a crowd-puller.

Cricket highlights

The golden days of New Zealand cricket were undoubtedly the eighties when the team boasted world class all-rounder Richard Hadlee, batsman Martin Crowe and wicket-keeper Ian Smith among others.

More recent highlights in New Zealand's cricketing history include winning the 2000 ICC Trophy in Kenya (considered the mini world cup) and making the World Cup semi-finals four times.

Kiwi cricket

Kiwis are introduced to cricket at an early age. Clubs take on players from the age of five, and an introductory form of cricket is taught in primary schools.

Known as 'Kiwi cricket', this version of the game is much shorter and teaches youngsters basics of the game.

Backyard cricket

Backyard cricket is a favourite with Kiwi families in summer, and has no doubt helped foster some of the country's cricketing talent.

Pitches are constructed around clothes lines, trampolines and vegetable gardens, and matches become the entertainment of summer barbecues, adults joining children in games that quickly become competitive and last well into dusk.

Beach cricket

Played on beaches all around the country, beach cricket is a quick fire way to get fit and enjoy the outdoors with friends.

  • Beach cricket is best when the following rules are adhered to:
  • Boundaries must be drawn in the sand, and include the tide
  • A maximum of two 'traditional' stumps - one made from driftwood found on the beach
  • The ball is a tennis ball so no pads are required
  • The 'one hand one bounce rule' must be in force at all times.