The Telegraph
Saturday , August 9 , 2014
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Jimmy’s bat drilled by customs

Jimmy Neesham

New Zealand all-rounder Jimmy Neesham felt the wrath of some overzealous United States customs officials on Thursday when he handed his bat in for inspection and got it back with full of holes.

Neesham was in for a shock as the United States police drilled multiple holes into his bat to check for hidden drugs while he was travelling through the country between games for Guyana Amazon Warriors in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL).

The incident only reflected that cricket continues to remain a mysterious and largely unknown sport in the United States as the officials feared the bat could be used to transport illegal drugs. And as a result, they drilled several holes into it to enable closer inspection.

A bemused Neesham later tweeted a photo of the willow, complete with four holes drilled into the bat. “Imagine if your cricket gear went through America and they drilled holes in your bat to look for drugs...” was his tweet.

Bats in modern day cricket are obviously expensive, but they are more treasured because each willow is custom-made on most occasions with specific instructions from the batsmen concerned.

That, however, was of no significance to the United States authorities who made several in-roads into what they suspected to be a tool for smuggling drugs.

Neesham, who has played four Tests and 11 ODIs for New Zealand, had earlier scored nine runs for the Amazon Warriors in what was presumably his last innings with the bat.

Neesham has of course used his bat to good effect, cracking a match-saving hundred against India on Test debut in February this year, before slamming another hundred in his next Test, against the West Indies in Kingston.

The left-hander, who also bowls medium pace, also has two half-centuries in the longest format of the game. Already renowned for his hard-hitting skills, Neesham was employed by the Delhi DareDevils in this year’s IPL.

At this year’s CPL, Neesham has so far taken seven wickets in eight appearances for the Amazon Warriors and scored 113 runs.

His highest score as of now is 35, batting at No. 5, against the Jamaica Tallawahs, a game his team lost by six wickets.

Little wonder Neeshan’s recent foray into the United States and his encounter with the local authorities there could send shivers down the spines of several others of his ilk.