Born on December 14, 1991, Matthew James Henry is a prominent figure in New Zealand’s cricketing landscape. Renowned for his right-arm fast-medium bowling, Henry has made significant contributions to both domestic and international cricket, cementing his place in the hearts of cricket enthusiasts.
Early Education and Cricketing Beginnings
Matthew Henry’s journey began in New Zealand, where he received his early education at St Joseph’s School in Papanui and later at St Bede’s College in Christchurch. His cricketing prowess quickly became evident during his formative years. His cricketing journey took an international twist when he pursued his sixth-form studies at St Joseph’s College, Ipswich, in England, courtesy of a one-year scholarship.
Domestic Cricket and County Stints
Henry’s domestic cricket career kicked off in 2011 when he started playing for Canterbury. His first-class cricket debut came during the 2010–11 Plunket Shield season against Wellington in March 2011. Beyond New Zealand’s shores, he ventured into English county cricket, representing Worcestershire in 2016 and later Derbyshire in the 2017 NatWest T20 Blast.
One of the defining moments of his county cricket career came when he played for Kent as their overseas player in the first half of the 2018 season. His impressive debut for Kent against Gloucestershire, where he took seven wickets, was just a taste of what was to come. Henry’s stellar performance against Durham in late April 2018 saw him take five wickets in the first innings and seven in the second, recording his first ten-wicket haul in first-class cricket with match figures of 12/73. His contributions earned him the coveted Kent cap during his first stint with the club.
IPL Stints and T20 Franchises
Matthew Henry’s talents transcended county cricket. In February 2017, he was picked by the Kings XI Punjab team for the 2017 Indian Premier League (IPL) for INR 5 million. His earlier stint with the Chennai Super Kings in the IPL between 2014 and 2015, although he didn’t play a match, showcased his potential.
The allure of T20 leagues around the world continued to beckon, and in July 2019, he was selected to play for the Edinburgh Rocks in the inaugural edition of the Euro T20 Slam cricket tournament. However, the tournament was canceled shortly thereafter.
Return to Kent and Somerset Triumph
In November 2021, Matthew Henry was welcomed back to Kent, this time for the 2022 cricket season in England. His contributions to Kent’s campaign were vital, and he played a crucial role in their success.
In February 2023, Henry embarked on a new chapter in his cricketing journey by signing with Somerset for the County Championship until the following July. His season with Somerset was nothing short of spectacular, as he emerged as the tournament’s leading wicket-taker and played a pivotal role in securing Somerset’s first T20 title since 2005. Notably, he took the winning wicket in the final against Essex, etching his name in Somerset’s cricketing history.
Matthew Henry’s international debut for New Zealand came on January 31, 2014, in the fifth One Day International (ODI) against India. He made his Twenty20 International debut for New Zealand against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates on December 4, 2014.
Although not initially selected in the final squad of 15 for the 2015 Cricket World Cup, he was called upon as a replacement for Adam Milne in the semi-final match against South Africa at Eden Park. Henry’s performance in the final against Australia, where he took crucial wickets, demonstrated his potential on the world stage.
His Test debut for New Zealand was during the tour against England in May 2015. Over the years, Henry established himself as a reliable fast-medium bowler for the national team.
In May 2018, Matthew Henry was among the twenty players to receive a new contract for the 2018–19 season from New Zealand Cricket. His consistency and contributions to the team’s success earned him a central contract.
One of the defining moments of his international career came in the first Test against South Africa in February 2022 when Henry achieved his first five-wicket haul in Test cricket, finishing with remarkable figures of 7/23.
In March 2023, he was once again in the spotlight as he was named in New Zealand’s ODI and T20I squad for their tour to Pakistan. His remarkable feat on April 14, 2023, in the first T20I against Pakistan, where he took a hat-trick, further solidified his status as a rising star in New Zealand cricket.
Matthew James Henry’s journey from domestic cricket to international stardom is a testament to his dedication, hard work, and unwavering commitment to the sport. As he continues to shine in the world of cricket, his name is sure to be etched in the annals of New Zealand cricket history.