Derek Stirling
Derek Stirling Credits: Twitter

Former New Zealand cricketer Derek Stirling died at the age of 62. Stirling, a right-arm fast bowler, played six tests and six one-day internationals between 1984 and 1986, making his debut against Pakistan at Lahore. For the rest of the decade, he was one of many New Zealanders who lived in the shadow of the greatest all-rounder of all time Richard Hadlee.

Derek Stirling had performed exceedingly well in domestic cricket as he picked up 206 first-class wickets in 84 matches with Central Districts (1981-88) and 90 List-A scalps in 65 matches with Wellington (1988-1992). He was unfortunate not to have had more opportunities to represent New Zealand at an age dominated by Sir Richard Hadlee, Ewen Chatfield, and Lance Cairns.

“NZC is deeply saddened by the passing of former Test fast-bowler Derek Stirling, aged 62. “Billy” as he was known, played 6 Tests and 6 ODIs for his country and was a popular member of both the @CDCricket, and @cricketwgtninc sides. Our thoughts are with his family and friends”.

Earlier during an interview with Stuff, Derek Stirling admitted that he did not play to the potential of New Zealand internationally and was happy playing for the Blackcaps in the limited opportunities. He also stated that he has no regrets about his career with the Kiwis, stating that cricket was good for him.

“I probably never achieved what I potentially could’ve. I was too inconsistent, probably on and off the field, Just making the [New Zealand] team was an achievement. Getting better and staying there was the next step and I never grasped that.

“But I don’t regret it. It was basically an amateur era. I don’t regret one second of it. I played overseas, cricket was good to me,” Derek Stirling said.

He earned his one-day international debut in Sri Lanka at the close of 1983-84, strangely before being chosen for a Young New Zealand tour of Zimbabwe. Stirling then played all three Tests in Pakistan in 1984-85, doing well on difficult surfaces, including 4 for 88 in the third Test in Karachi. However, he fell out of favour right before New Zealand’s historic back-to-back series victories over Australia in 1985-86.

Hastings-based post-playing days Stirling was the Hawke’s Bay Cricket Association’s chairman and was highly involved in coaching age-group cricket. He worked as a salesman, first for DB Breweries and subsequently as a partner for Bay Canon, dealing with photocopiers. Stirling was also a radio commentator on occasion, providing expert commentary for international matches in Napier.