FOUR WORLD CUPS: Chris Harris’s shirt collection dates from 1992, which he is wearing, to from left: 1996, 1999 and 2003.
When Chris Harris sees his old, now-iconic 1992 Cricket World Cup shirt, he relives the tournament with a minute-long video is his mind.
It starts great with the side’s 37-run upset win in the tournament opener against Australia.
It carries on building its excitement levels with further wins, each one raising the drama.
Victories against Sri Lanka, South Africa and Zimbabwe flick by.Wins over the West Indies, India then England bring back the feeling of sitting on top of the nine-team table before a quick dart over a round-robin loss to Pakistan.
That’s quickly glossed over in ”Harry’s” mind-movie because it’s the next game against Pakistan which takes his focus, like a James Bond film villain.
”That game” as he calls the semifinal loss to a star-studded Pakistan side which would go on and win the tournament.
”Then you get to that game, and it’s a bit of a sad ending to the movie.”
All that from a shirt.
It was Harris’ first of four World Cups and is easily the one he’s asked most often about.
”I think there’s a resurgence of those shirts too,” he said.
”I’ve started seeing them all over the place and not just here, I was in Germany recently and saw one.”
Harris played 250 one-day games for New Zealand and jokes he wore every type of shirt made ”except the beige”, from terrible teal through a range of bizarre blues to the black they wear today.
The grey 1992 number with the multi-coloured shoulder stripes to represent the nine competing countries, instantly takes Harris, now 44, back 22 years to the first World Cup played in coloured clothing.
”I remember the whole atmosphere, of the opening match and the entire tournament, up until our last day,” he said.
”What few people remember is we’d just been beaten 3-0 by England in the buildup. We hadn’t had much success before the tournament and no-one had any reason to think that was going to change.
”Then we beat Australia in the first match and went on that run. And the whole country got in behind us, it was pretty special.”
Harris remembers the opening match with alarming accuracy.
The scores players made, who caught who, and the run-outs, though one of them was easy as it was his and cemented New Zealand’s opening match victory.
He ran David Boon out for 100 with a direct hit from the outfield.
”I remember throwing the ball and while it was still miles away, Gavin Larsen pulled his hands out of the way. I was like, ‘what are you doing, we can run him out here and win the game’. And then it hit. The crowd just went silent for what felt like a couple of seconds then just erupted.
”I don’t think they were celebrating the runout, more the fact we were going to win the game, that’s what people were reacting to.”
Harris is wrong; they were reacting to his side on, direct hit run out. It was spectacular. New Zealand went on to win the seven matches in a row before being bundled out by Pakistan in ”that game”, an Eden Park semifinal.
”In the form we were in, we probably should have gone on to win that tournament,” he said.
Harris made the quarterfinals in 1996 when, despite him scoring a career high 130, New Zealand were unable to tip over Australia.
He was part of the 1999 campaign in England knocked out in the semifinals, again by Pakistan and went to the 2003 tournament in South Africa where New Zealand would have made the semifinals, but for refusing to play in Kenya.
”They’re all a bit special to me to be honest. A World Cup is a really special thing to be a part of. But it’s hard to go past the 1992 experience, that’s for sure.”
– © Fairfax NZ News