Lee GermonLee Kenneth Germon (born 4 November 1968) is a former New Zealand cricketer, wicket-keeper and former captain. He played for the provinces of Canterbury and Otago and is the most successful Canterbury cricket captain of the modern era. He was made captain of New Zealand on his Test debut and he holds the unofficial record for the most runs (70), from a single over in first-class cricket.
Germon made his first class debut as a 19-year-old for Canterbury against Auckland at Lancaster Park on 5 January 1988. Germon became captain of an underperforming Canterbury side after Rod Latham on 31 December 1990.
Under Germon's leadership Canterbury went on to unprecedented success in the New Zealand one day game winning the Shell Cup 50 over competition in 1991/92, 1992/93 & 1993/94, two further wins were to follow in 1995/96 & 1996/97. Canterbury also won the New Zealand first class competition the Shell Trophy under his captaincy in 1993/4, 1996/97 and 1997/98. Canterbury also won the one off New Zealand Action cricket trophy in 1992 (Action cricket was a forerunner to Twenty20 and Cricket Max).
Germon holds the records for dismissals for Canterbury with 238 in 76 first class matches. He also scored 2336 runs at an average of 30.74.
Germon's final match for Canterbury was in the 1997/98 Shell Cup final which Canterbury won against Northern Districts. In this match Germon broke the New Zealand first-class record for a tenth wicket partnership when he added 160 with Warren Wisneski, making 80 runs in his final innings. Germon retired from cricket after the match, aged 29.
In the early 1990s Germon was continually overlooked for the New Zealand side despite his wicket keeping and captaincy abilities After season 1993/94, in which Germon led Canterbury to victory in both one day and four day competitions and scored a 100 not out playing for a New Zealand XI against the visiting Pakistan side in January 1994, Germon entered the New Zealand side.
While he missed out on the 1994 winter tour to England, Germon was included in the 1994/95 tour to South Africa when he was taken as cover for wicketkeeper/batsman Adam Parore. On this tour Germon made his ODI debut for New Zealand on 8 December against Sri Lanka in a rain affected match at Goodyear Park, Bloemfontein; he kept wicket while Parore played as a specialist batsman. Germon however played very little cricket on the tour.
1994/95 was New Zealand's cricket's centenary season, and it proved a disaster for the New Zealand cricket team. At its conclusion New Zealand broadcater Murray Deaker commented that the only good thing you could say about it from the New Zealand cricket point of view was that it only came once every hundred years.
Marred by substandard performances, disciplinary problems and a cannabis smoking scandal, the season proved a watershed in New Zealand cricket and Glenn Turner was introduced as new coach in 1995, as New Zealand cricket sought about changing the culture within the New Zealand cricket team.
Turner, upon deciding that Ken Rutherford would be replaced as captain, appointed Germon New Zealand wicketkeeper and captain, recognising that Germon had the best captaincy record in New Zealand domestic cricket at the time. Prior to making Germon captain, Turner assessed Germon's wicket keeping abilities consulting with former New Zealand wicketkeepers Barry Milburn and Ian Smith, who both considered Germon to be the best the wicketkeeper in New Zealand at that time. Former New Zealand captain and then senior squad member Martin Crowe also stated to Turner that he thought Germon as better at wicket-keeping than incumbent wicketkeeper Adam Parore.
Germon was to play 12 Test matches and 37 ODIs for New Zealand. Germon's captaincy career was to last less than 2 years. His first test was against India in October 1995 a match which New Zealand lost by 8 wickets. Germon distinguished himself in the match, top scoring for New Zealand in both innings making 48 and 41 runs respectively.
CaptaincyWhile the team did not have significant success under his leadership a steady improvement was made on the performances of the 1994 -95 season. Germon's only test victory as captain came in November 1996 when he captained New Zealand to its first test victory over Pakistan, in Pakistan for 26 years.
ESPN cricinfo rates Germon's one day cricket captaincy success rate at 44.44%; this is below his successor Stephen Fleming's 48.04% success rate but represented an improvement on Ken Rutherford's 30% success rate. While New Zealand won only one ODI series, against Zimbabwe during Germon's time in charge, they did win 15 games and drew two.
Germon's first one-day series in charge was against India in India and it resulted in a closely contested series win to India, three games to two.
He captained New Zealand to its first ever one day victories in the West Indies in 1996 in a closely fought one day series which NZ lost three games to two. There were also series draws against Pakistan in New Zealand 1995/1996 (two all) and England in New Zealand in 1997 (two all).
He led New Zealand to the final of the 1996 Sharjah Cup competition, defeating competition from new world champions Sri Lanka. New Zealand lost in the final to Pakistan.
He led New Zealand to the quarter final of the 1996 world cup where despite scoring their highest ever total against Australia (to that point) with 286, they lost. Germon scored his highest ODI score of 89 in that match and finished the 1996 World Cup with a batting average of 63.66, the highest of any New Zealander and any wicketkeeper in the tournament.
Along with coach Glenn Turner, Germon had wanted to make significant changes to the culture of the New Zealand team, he was faced with opposition from some high-profile players. There was much dissension in the New Zealand team in the tour of the West Indies in 1996, it has been suggested by New Zealand journalists that Chris Cairns and Adam Parore faked injuries to leave the tour early, after the tour Glenn Turner was deposed by New Zealand cricket, it is widely believed that this conflict with high-profile players along with his loss of form led to Germon's sudden dismissal from the New Zealand side in 1997.
While Germon's form had slumped, (in Turner's era he had averaged 25 in ODI's with the bat, and 26.80 in tests), in his last ODI against England he made 4 dismissals, former New Zealand wicket keeper Ian Smith saying that he had "kept like a dream" in his last match. His dismissal from the New Zealand team was highly controversial. It caused protest, especially in Canterbury. New Zealand convenor of selectors of the time Ross Dykes admitted to receiving hate mail and anonymous phone calls over the issue.
Germon is one of the few wicketkeepers who have played over ten tests and affected more dismissal than conceded byes. He affected 29 dismissals in test cricket and conceded 24 byes.
Post captaincyLee Germon was replaced as New Zealand captain by his Canterbury team mate Stephen Fleming, a player he had tipped as a player for the future in the 1993 Who’s who of New Zealand cricket.
After retiring from cricket in 1998 Germon was persuaded to play cricket again by his former Canterbury coach Denis Aberhart and former New Zealand coach Glenn Turner to play for Otago. Germon was to play for an underperforming Otago team as a batsman between 2000–2002. He chose to play for Otago citing the fresh challenge it offered him. Germon played as a batsman only and did not match his previous achievements as a player.
In 1998 Germon became the South Island development manager for the Bank of New Zealand before moving on to work at St Andrew's College as its development officer in 2000. In 2004 Germon shifted to Mainland Soccer as CEO for what turned out to be only a 10-month stint before he moved to Nelson to become CEO of the Tasman Rugby Union. In 2009 he returned to his home city of Christchurch to become CEO of Canterbury Cricket.