Trish McKelvey is the longest serving Test captain of New Zealand, leading them in fifteen Test matches from 1966 to 1978/9. She is also their only successful – no other Test captain of New Zealand has won a Test match.
Born on 5th January 1942 in Lower Hutt, Wellington, Trish made her first class debut for Wellington in December 1960, two weeks before her 19th birthday. Apart from a season for Otago in 1962/3, McKelvey played her entire twenty year career for Wellington.
In 1966, Trish was not only selected for the England tour of that year, she was also made captain of the White Ferns. Her Test debut, like many of the previous skippers, was her captaincy debut. She and New Zealand were up against a powerful England line-up, led by Rachael Heyhoe, but her bowling stocks were good. Jackie Lord, Jill Saulbrey, Jos Burley – proved a handful for the England batters and the new skipper left undefeated in the Tests.
In 1968/9 Heyhoe led the England team to New Zealand’s shores and in the first Test, McKelvey scored her first Test century, and what a score it was, 155 not out in a team total of 302. For good measure it was scored at her home ground of Wellington. The rest of the series less fruitful as Enid Bakewell and Heyhoe scored heavily leading England to victory.
What was originally supposed to be a three Test tour of Australia in 1971/2 was reduced to a single Test. It was felt that New Zealand might struggle against their more powerful neighbours.
“I know that we were very determined as a team to be successful, especially as we had been turned down by Australia for a full tour because it had been decided we weren’t strong enough.”
After being 40 runs in arrears after the first innings and copping some flack from the Australian crowd, McKelvey steeled her team and they beat the Aussies by 143 runs.
“The opposition and press were in disbelief. It took the Blackcaps another 2 years before they could record their first Test win over Australia.”
The team then continued on, where the White Ferns defeated South Africa by 1-0 in a three Test series. Then something strange. A new concept, a World Cup, would be staged in England in 1973. Trish McKelvey played, but not for New Zealand – her ODI career would start as a member of the International XI.
The final over her 15 Test matches were a full series against Australia in 1978/9. Across her career, 699 runs at 29.12 with two centuries. Importantly, her fifteen Test matches as captain of New Zealand are unmatched for the White Ferns and she remains the only player to lead the country to victory in Test cricket.
In 1978 normal service resumed for New Zealand’s ODI team and McKelvey led the team to the World Cup in India, which she did again at home in 1981/2. She skippered the team in 15 ODIs, winning 7.