New Zealand vs England: Tearful Blair Tickner says cyclone destroyed father’s home

Blair Tickner was excited for his Test debut for New Zealand against England, until Cyclone Gabrielle hit the island nation. After the disaster, Tickner admitted that it was hard to concentrate or enjoy his debut, especially after the cyclone hit his father’s house.

“My father’s house has been fully destroyed. It was good to get back, help them out,” said a tearful Tickner as he talked to the media in Wellington ahead of the second Test against England. He then said, “It’s just hard times for the whole region so helping out neighbours and whoever we could. It’s been tough, it’s really tough at the moment, but Hawke’s Bay is staying strong. Obviously, I grew up there as a kid … it’s just crazy to be honest. It’s a bit hard to talk about, really.”

Even though the Black Caps went down to England in the first Test, Tickner bagged four wickets on his debut and was given a slim bit of happiness when his father was able to catch his first ever Test wicket, before heading out to help families stricken by the cyclone.

“You dream about your test debut forever and expect your family to be there … my dad was good enough to come through, taking generators down to Hawke’s Bay to help people,” Tickner said.

“He just stopped in for about half an hour, luckily saw my first test wicket and then went on to a seven-hour drive home to help everyone,” said Tickner.

New Zealand cricket has teamed up with ANZ for a special fundraiser when the Kiwis face Sri Lanka in an ODI on March 25th at Eden Park. ANZ also promised a $1 million donation to the New Zealand Red Cross Disaster Fund.

“Hopefully we can have a sell-out and all that money goes to them,” Tickner said. “It’s round the whole of New Zealand – Gisborne, Wairoa, Hawke’s Bay, up north of Auckland and Whangārei. So it’s been hard for everyone throughout the country.”

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