- Publish Date
- Monday, 13 January 2020, 11:23AM
One of Australia's favourite comedians, Andy Lee, is leaving sidekick Hamish Blake behind and coming to the side of Kiwi cricket great Stephen Fleming as the wildcard on Team Cricket for the Hot Spring Spas T20 Napier Black Clash against Team Rugby on Friday.
But it means a frantic four-hour drive to Wellington as soon as the game finishes so he can catch a flight to Melbourne to be at the Australian Open first thing the next day.
Lee tells Spy his job at the Open is to interview the best tennis players in the world and suggests he took advice from the very best to prep him.
"I talked to Oprah who told me the best preparation for interviews is playing in a televised cricket match. She did it before most of her interviews and was a batting all-rounder I believe," says Lee.
The cricket-loving radio and TV host already has a part-time role as Chief Hydration Officer for the Melbourne Stars. He is a bowler and says there is nothing suspicious about revealing that Fleming is his favourite NZ cricketer.
"I'm not just saying that because he's the captain and decides where and when I might bat or bowl," he says.
Lee's schedule is full-on. He is due at the team lunch at Craggy Range Winery on Thursday and an evening drinks function at Shed 2 that night.
The following day, the star teams can sleep off any hangovers with the first innings at 4.15pm and the second innings concluding at 8.30pm. After Team Cricket's victory (hopefully), Lee says he'll make time for a quick dressing room refreshment before driving to Wellington - there are no flights out of Napier to get him to Melbourne.
The 38-year-old will be at the airport at 4am, to catch his flight and be on court talking to the big names by 9am. With all that travel Lee is very much focused on a win even though he hasn't played a competitive cricket match for several years.
"I'll definitely be nervous. I've decided not to practice at all though. I've decided to only be sore once."
None of the rugby players on the opposing team worry him at all, not the Barrett brothers not Richie McCaw or Aaron Smith.
"I've never really felt that rugby players are intimidating. Table tennis players - they're scary. Have you seen how fast they hit that ball? " he exclaims.
Like rubbing sandpaper on a cricket ball, Lee adds his own sledge to Team Rugby by saying his worldwide rugby hero is Welsh Referee Nigel Owens, the ref from the All Blacks losing semi-final match at last year's World Cup.
This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here with permission