An Indian-born cricketer has been named New Zealand’s Domestic Player of the year. following his 1000 run summer for Northern Districts. Bharat Popli was born in the Indian capital Delhi, scored 1149 runs at an average of 65.78 in the Plunket Shield to win the award.
Poli is just the fourth batsman to reach four figures in a Plunket Shield season. He scored three centuries and a top score of 172 against the Devon Hotel Central Stags, and on three occasions he was dismissed in the nineties.
Poli is the third on the all-time season list behind the late Martin Crowe (1348 runs in 1986-87) and England international Graeme Hick (1228 in 1988-89).
His maiden first-class century came at Eden Park’s Outer Oval before Christma, against eventual champion the Mondiale Auckland Aces. After that ton, there was no looking back for Popli and he kept his fine from throughout the season.
Popli grew up in New Zealand, where he played alongside Kane Williamson for Tauranga Boys’ College and Bay of Plenty Cricket.
There are many Indian origin players who played for New Zealand. In 1992 World Cup Brijesh Patel played for New Zealand, later Jiten Patel played and now Ish Sodhi is playing for New Zealand. But these three are spinners. Bharat Popli probably the first batsman who get success in domestic cricket of New Zealand.