New Zealand’s ‘Captain Cush’ – at 68

Sydney-bound: From left, NZ over-60s cricket reps Fraser Skinner and captain John Cushen, and NZ 'B' team rep Brian 'Owie' O'Connell

A Queenstowner’s been named captain of New Zealand’s over-60s cricket team.

John Cushen’s skippering the team in an over-60s Australian inter-state tournament, starting in Penrith, Sydney, this Sunday.

The 68-year-old, who played in the same tournament in Canberra last year, takes over the captaincy from teammate and former NZ fast bowler Ewen Chatfield.

A fast bowler himself, Cushen was considered unlucky not to make the NZ team in his heyday, though he’d been an under-19 and under-23 NZ rep.

After the NZ team performed “abysmally” in the finals last year, Cushen is determined to win next week’s 45-over tournament.

Joining him for his NZ debut is fellow local player and Otago over-60s rep Fraser Skinner, 65, who describes his bowling as “right arm drift”.

“Cricket’s one of those few sports you can actually keep playing till you’re reasonably old, as long as you’re fit,” he says.

Meanwhile, another local Otago rep, Brian ‘Owie’ O’Connell, 62, is playing for the NZ ‘B’ team at a parallel tournament after debuting for them last year.

Meanwhile, Queenstown Events Centre hosts a 50-over one-dayer between the NZ and Australian over-60s sides on February 24.

Cushen, however, won’t be available.

“Unfortunately, six months ago I booked a trip to Antarctica [at that time].”