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New Zealand-England Series

Tickner eager to beat England to cheer cyclone victims



Photo: Blair Tickner

|| AFP ||

New Zealand fast bowler Blair Tickner wants to bring some cheer to the victims of Cyclone Gabrielle by helping the Black Caps win the second Test against England, starting Friday.

Tickner joined the clean-up operation in his devastated home region still reeling from the deadly floodwaters.

Tickner, 29, made his debut in New Zealand's 267-run defeat against England in the first Test, before being released for two days this week to help his father, whose home was wrecked by the cyclone which claimed 11 lives.

Tickner said he will give his all to beat England and square the two-match series before heading home again to offer more help.

"I definitely want to get my first win in Test match cricket and really want to do it for the people of Hawke's Bay," Tickner told reporters.

Floodwaters left thousands without power, marooned communities and damaged properties, especially in the eastern region of Hawke's Bay, where Tickner's dad John lives.    

"My father's house has been fully destroyed. It was good to get back, help them out," said an emotional Tickner.

"It's just hard times for the whole region so we helped out neighbours and whoever we could.

"It's been tough, it's really tough at the moment, but Hawke's Bay is staying strong.

"Having grown up there, it's hard to talk about," he said, choking back tears.

"Test cricket doesn't feel hard after seeing stock dead on the side of the road and grown men crying about their homes with their lives flipped upside down.

"Cricket is nothing compared to what people are going through at the moment."

Tickner took 4-127 against England on his New Zealand debut despite knowing his home region had been ravaged.

He was grateful that his father was briefly in the Mount Maunganui crowd to see his Test debut.

"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 added.

"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."

New Zealand Cricket has said the first one-day international against Sri Lanka at Auckland's Eden Park on March 25 will be a fundraiser for the cyclone's victims.

"Hopefully we can have a sellout and all that money goes to them," Tickner said.

"It's been hard for everyone throughout the country."