At 1.98 metres, Kyle Jamieson has only narrowly fallen short of Jason Holder, who currently is one of the tallest cricketers in the world of cricket. But what’s at the greater good for NZ is the form of Jamieson, who is also one of the best talents to have come out of the country's domestic circuit.
His talent was first spotted in 2016 when a six-foot-eight massive bowler ran in to pick up his debut fifer in the Plunket Shield. At that time while the talent was quickly spotted, it was also disregarded as another bowler who would only bowl well in domestic cricket, waiting in the wings just like the other talents in the country.
His height though gave him a figurative and literal advantage over the others in terms of reaching the threshold. At that height, his lengths were daunting, lines were accurate and they troubled the batsmen every delivery, which came as a real boon to the country. In a country that had bowlers always idolise and become as quick as Shane Bond, Jamieson was slowly withering himself away in a mould that best resembled Kyle Mills, with his deliveries swinging slightly away from the right-hander.
For a bowler who is that tall, the natural comparison always lies with the yesteryear stars and some of the legends from the Caribbean, across the globe, in what would be a long flight to the Islands. But he wasn’t just like Curtly Ambrose, Joel Garner or Morne Morkel, who traded in back-of-length deliveries and dealt in shorter balls, rather, he devised his own bowling pattern - which seemingly took the world by surprise. His first victims? The touring Indian team.
While India walked prepared for the likes of Trent Boult and Tim Southee, Jamieson was rather too tall a prospect for them and even after several approaches for preparation he looked to whistle past the bat far too often as the Indian batsmen were caught in two minds repeatedly. Cheteshwar Pujara, who had just a year ago put a sailing flag on the Australian soil, couldn’t wrap up his mind around a normal Jamieson delivery, which seemingly was also how he brought about his success on the domestic scene.
Such is his reverberation on the batsmen’s mind - making them get tangled in their own double-minded thoughts, leaving them more vulnerable than ever. Picking up a fifer against India looked destined but more importantly, the question was could he ever repeat such heroics? With COVID-19 sparkling anxiety and a fear of no live cricket, New Zealand, like the rest of the world, had to wait for their turn and a visiting West Indies team obliged their calls.
Nine wickets against India and the entire world took a note of Jamieson but did that note signal his downfall? After a long wait in the sheds, watching skipper Kane Williamson go about his business, the right-hander walked in at a rather calamitous time - 409/6 and New Zealand needed a real god before they could get their hands on the fragile Windies batting order. In walked Jamieson and out walked the ball, repeatedly outside the boundary ropes, in what was his first half-century and third real impactful innings in his third Test, as New Zealand sprung to new heights at home.
He’s 6’8; doesn’t bowl the expected length for a person as tall as him and more importantly, tests the batsmen more often than not. Running in casually bowling his seventh over, Jamieson really pitched one within the sights of the left-handed Darren Bravo but the result, a wicket. That’s in short how Jamieson gets it done. He isn’t the most threatening looking bowler and certainly isn’t the quickest around in the world but what he does is certainly the best - get the batsman out. It doesn’t matter where you bat, how well you bat - he really finds ways out of the blue to pick a wicket without any sort of real pace.
The spell in the first innings of the second Test, arguably, was one of his best spells. It wasn’t how he made a living feeding off the insecurities of the batsmen but how he brought about that insecurity in the very first place. A deceptive concoction of deceptivity in height, bounce and movement was what in short made Jamieson’s living in International cricket and that combined with his batting, made him a millionaire.
“I think as a tall guy, naturally your length is further back, but over time you get used to trying to bring it a little bit fuller. With my height, I can afford to go a fraction fuller, especially out here, with the extra bounce,” he said after his debut Test against India.
However, for a batsman-turned-bowler, Jamieson really caught up with the speeding bowling syllables and made it his own. In the second Test, his enticing deliveries gobbled the West Indian batsmen into devouring their own house. If an over defines his Test career more than the other, it would be the 15th over of the West Indian innings in the second Test, where he bowled one of the most memorable overs in Test cricket, that had written ‘greatness’ all over it. He not only picked up two wickets off two deliveries but bowled at a zeal never seen before in the Kiwiland for a guy not named ‘Shane Bond.’
Such a simple action, nothing uncanny whatsoever about it - the 25-year-old seemingly has learnt that his trade is unique and so have the batsmen. In an attack that has everything right about it, Jamieson’s simplicity alongside his 1.98-metre self will only help it reach greater heights.
The commentators go gaga over his bowling, “Gone this time! You just cannot keep Jamieson out of the action. All three balls were eventful and he has his man,” and so could we. And as he sums up his bowling performance perfectly - "I just consider myself very fortunate to play in the same team as those guys and play in the same era as three of New Zealand's greatest-ever quicks."