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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

NZ Cricket: The Real Frank Cameron - His Family's Story

Related Links:  Dunedin Cricket,  Carisbrook Cricket Club,   Otago CricketNZ Cricket
International Cricket CouncilNZ Cricket Players Association,  Otago Boys High SchoolChristchurch Boys High School

Frank Cameron is my uncle - my mother's brother. Playing  first class test  cricket for New Zealand as a bowler, followed by many years as a selector - his  has been a charmed life of world travel, beautiful wives, wealth, status and success. But it has been at the expense of others. His character was less than impeccable, and indeed had disastrous consequences for my own family - while also reducing the integrity of international cricket. 

Privately,  "Frank the Lionheart" was  more "Frank the Hyena Heart" - and his dubious character revealed itself publicly when he became the team manager.

"Cameron was an astute thinker of the game and one of his behind-the-scenes ploys was a major factor in New Zealand's dramatic one-wicket win over the West Indies at Carisbrook in 1980.” (ODT)

Astute?  It went like this. Fearing that his team were going to lose on his own home ground, Frank called a news conference and lied about “expecting the pitch to turn” (softer), hoping the other side would play their (weaker) spin bowler, instead of their formidable fast bowlers. They did – and NZ won the match by a hair’s breadth.

"That was Frank Cameron."

Indeed it was. Dishonest, unsportsmanlike, cheap and manipulative.

"Shrewd, a thinker who squeezed everything out of his own ability..." yes, and out of his own family, who in turn squeezed every last thing they could out of people.

The following year, in February 1981, Trevor Chappel played the infamous underarm bowl against NZ in Australia - an incident roundly decried by Australians themselves as shocking and unsportsmanlike, and lowering the integrity of the game.

 It was Frank Cameron who set that up. He introduced underhanded tactics into the game in 1980, and while on tour with the team the following year, Greg Chappel merely followed suit against him. This is Frank Cameron's true legacy to cricket - the lowering of international standards to the Cameron's level.

An untrained “stock bowler” who got by on height and stamina, he entered the NZ team very late (at almost 30) and played for NZ for only three years before being dropped from the team. After that he opportunistically climbed the administrative ladder - first as a selector, then as Chairman of the Selection Panel. He later received an MBE for his “services” to cricket.

Frank wanted his salad days of free overseas jaunts to never end, and he manoeuvred himself accordingly. He was the stock bowler who promoted himself to Chairman of the Board. 

Privately, Frank Cameron completely neglected his familial responsibilities. He would make an appearance only once a year on Christmas Day for the dinner, then leave. When his parent's house burned down, he did nothing to help them when they returned from an overseas cruise to a burnt out shell and nowhere to live. Wealthy, worldly and connected, he could have easily made proper arrangements for his family, but he did not, and neither did his elder brother Ewen Cameron, a headmaster. Instead, they dumped the full burden on our family, who put them up for an entire year - crowded into a home with four children under nine, one of them a newborn baby. There has never been any restitution of these costs. Nor did either brother visit them.

 Frank was not present when his mother died, yet before the body was barely cold, he suddenly appeared with a furniture truck and cleaned out her house of all the furniture, which rightfully belonged to his sister, who had looked after their mother all her life, and who received only a double share of the estate as compensation - not much, just enough for a deposit on a small unit, but not enough for furniture. So Frank then loaned her some money, and charged her interest at the full bank rate, while he sat on his mother's furniture for nothing.

It gets worse. Frank Cameron palmed his mentally and morally defective sister off to my father in an arranged marriage in which he misrepresented her and his own family - a ploy which was to have  catastrophic outcomes.

Frank was oblivious to any of his responsibilities, or the consequences of his negligence. 

For the full  story,  go to:

For Neil Cameron's story go to;

Neil Cameron is Frank's nephew - a prominent Buddhist, and   media spokesman for the Dalai Lama. He is also a fraud.

Frank Cameron's  Teaching Career:

After teaching at Otago Boys' High School for 33 years , Frank then moved to Christchurch, where he was a substitute teacher at Christchurch Boys' High School.  Now in his seventies, he was still squeezing every last drop of mileage from his three short years of test cricket some forty five years later.

Some student comments from Rate My Teacher:

"sheer waste of time. Needs to go into retirement" ..

"no wonder they ditched him from OBHS"

"ya dnt do a thing if you mention cricket" ..

"Reminiscant on past international games. Rates himself on his don bradman stories a bit though, stretched the truth as such.."

"had some good stories to tell, and the only teacher at the school whos in a playstation game!"

Frank is a cartoon character a playstation game? Yet he was never team captain, vice captain, nor a star player like Richard Hadlee, Lance Cairns  or Martin Crowe - and doesn't even rate a mention  on Wikipedia's NZ National Cricket team personalities.

"Franky did u ever know that ur my hero???"

 "well where do I start about old franky cameron? to put it bluntly he's the man, dosn't have the patience for any PC crap like ncea, go the oldschool! your the man franky"

Christchurch Boy's High School uses this student's quote as its introduction to Frank:

"Mr Cameron epitomises CBHS he's great man and was the man at cricket (look for his card in the pavillion) always great to sit back and have a chat with him about NZ cricket."

Yet Frank never attended CBHS, nor taught there. He was merely an occasional  substitute teacher, apparently  unconcerned with the NCAE educational certificate. Nor  do these students seem to have mastered even basic English, yet Franky baby  was an English teacher. And  this epitomises CBHS?

"He's the man! been teaching for 40 years and still going strong, enjoy a chat with him."

So Frank would turn up to class, ostensibly to teach, then spend the class talking about himself and his cricketing days.  One student commented "I asked him for his autograph and he screamed at me. If you don't want to give out autographs why did u play cricket for New Zealand?!?" 

Good question.

Was Frank practising onanism in  public while stealing his wage, like his sister did in front  of a full length mirror  - while stealing someone  else's wage?

The truth is,  Frank Cameron was a stock bowler, not a star player, and of dubious value as a selector.  He himself says: "As a selector you got rubbished everywhere because we never won. There weren't too many queuing up as selectors. You knew when you stood up you were going to take punishment. It got so bad at one lunch I attended at Eden Park that I got up and walked out."

Recently, the entire structure of the Cricketing Selection Panel was  abolished.

What Frank really did well was sniff the pitch.  He would be out sniffing that wicket  at all hours.  He even had the pitch moved once, because he didn't like the way it was seaming.

 If they don't have his ferret head bobbing up from the ground behind the stumps in the playstation game, sniffing that pitch, then they should. Because that is the real him.  Frank Cameron's true value  was   feral.

And anything but chivalrous.