New Zealand Test legend dead at 64
John Fulton Reid, one of New Zealand's finest test batsmen, has died of cancer aged 64.
The left-hander scored 1296 runs at an average of 46.28 from 19 tests between 1979 and 1986, second behind Kane Williamson among compatriots to play more than 20 innings.
His conversion rate of centuries from half-centuries was 75 per cent, completing six from eight. That is the best among New Zealanders, and higher than Sir Don Bradman's 69 per cent - although The Don reached three figures on 29 occasions out of 42.
Reid was technically adept at the crease, and exuded particular elegance against spin.
However, the pinnacle of his playing career arguably came in November 1985 during New Zealand's innings-and-41-run victory against Australia at the pacy 'Gabba. Reid and Martin Crowe combined for a then-record 224-run third-wicket stand which helped their side to 553 for seven declared. Sir Richard Hadlee did the rest with 15 wickets for 123.
Reid made 108.
Speaking to the Herald on the 30th anniversary, the No. 3 felt he proved a point after the first five of his six centuries came at home or away against India, Pakistan or Sri Lanka.
"To bat through, when the wicket was still doing a bit, was special. It wasn't an easy, flat pitch to start and I proved I could score a hundred outside subcontinent or spin-dominated attacks.
"Watching Martin bat so superbly, and me pushing ones and twos at the other end made for a fantastic platform.
"On faster, harder pitches there were benefits to playing down the ground. You were less vulnerable to getting caught than playing cross-bat shots. It altered my game plan and I consciously told myself to hit straight past mid-off and mid-on."
Former Auckland and national teammate Martin Snedden, now chairman of the New Zealand Cricket board, reflected on Reid's contribution in 2015.
"You'd always heard sceptical backroom chat about John's ability to play fast bowling at that level, but look at his test record; it is unbelievable against good pace and spin attacks.
"That partnership [with Crowe] was critical because, having bowled so well, it's not unusual for New Zealand teams to stuff it up batting. Those two just repelled the Aussies."
John F Reid has passed away at the age of 64.— ICC (@ICC) December 29, 2020
He remains the fastest New Zealand player to score 1000 Test runs, taking just 20 innings to reach the landmark.
Reid also had coaching spells with both the men's and women's national sides in his native country.
📸 @BLACKCAPS pic.twitter.com/5SMwWagh1V
Reid said the game - and the first and so far only series win in Australia - was a culmination of a change in New Zealand's mindset over several years.
"It sounds a bit trite, given how professional the game is now, but we saw the emergence of those who played in the English county environment. John Wright, Geoff Howarth and Richard Hadlee brought a sense of professionalism which was different to the past.
"We tended to be weekend cricketers who happened to play tests and, to a certain extent, that's how I regarded myself. We played a handful of first-class games a season. Suddenly we had more confidence and self-belief on the world stage.
"My main recollection of the build-up came from our internal meeting. It was pre-video analysis but we shared the knowledge players had of others. Glenn Turner went around every player to talk about their strengths and what he expected from them. There was no discussion about weaknesses; it was just 'do this because you're good at it'. I went to bed thinking about how I could reinforce that."
2/2 In the 19 Tests he played, John struck 6 100s, averaged 46, and played a vital role in the ’85 series wins against Pakistan and Australia.— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) December 29, 2020
In an amateur era, Reid also placed earning a living ahead of international cricketing glory. He declined a tour to the Caribbean in 1985 so he could prioritise his role as a teacher.
He later became New Zealand Cricket operations director, high performance manager, as well as caretaker coach of the national side in the 1995 centenary season.
Reid moved from Auckland to Canterbury in 1996 to take up his NZC role.
Recently, part of the new Selwyn Sports Centre was named in his honour.
Selwyn mayor Sam Broughton told the Otago Daily Times the move acknowledged Reid's work as a champion of community sport in the district. He also spent nine years at Sport New Zealand (previously SPARC) supporting that cause, and established a national programme to identify and develop talented athletes.
Reid is survived by his wife Karen, daughters Amanda and Carolyn, and six grandchildren.
This article originally appeared on the NZ Herald and was reproduced with permission.
Originally published as New Zealand Test legend dead at 64