The last week has been a tough one for Blair Tickner, as he swelled up during the press conference before the second Test against England. The pacer’s childhood home back in Hawke’s Bay was devastated by the cyclone, Gabrielle, which had blown everything in the town to smithereens.
To add that, there was confirmed 11 deaths in the region, with the cyclone taking a heavy toll on the localities. Tickner, who alongside Will Young, returned home before the second Test on special permission talked about how the town is still ailing from the impact of the cyclone.
"My father's house has been fully destroyed," Tickner said. "It was good to get back and help them out. And, obviously, it's hard times for the whole region so helping out neighbours and whoever we could. Luckily enough, the Central Stags cricket team was helping alongside us. It has been tough. It's really tough at the moment. But [people at] Hawke's Bay are staying strong.
"Obviously, you grow up there as a kid and it's just… it's just crazy. A bit hard to talk about, really. There are so many damaged little parts of Hawke's Bay I haven't even seen yet. You sort of just get to work: people are just walking down the road and just asking people if they need help and it has just been awesome to see the region pulling together."
AUDIO: An incredibly emotional Blair Tickner says last week's test debut was the "only bright light" for his family who suffered major devastation in Hawke's Bay from the cyclone. He spoke at the Basin Reserve today about his trip home. @newstalkzbsport pic.twitter.com/sgyYEP7h8i— Adam Cooper (@adamcoopnz) February 22, 2023
Tickner and Young, who both returned home were seen aiding the localities in restoring a bit of parity back, with the pacer posting a photo of him on the tractor helping the people.
"We've been clearing neighbours' stuff," Tickner said, "using the forklift and loader. I actually got my old man's loader stuck so hopefully he doesn't watch this news report because it's about a metre in the mud at the moment. I probably shouldn't have driven around the neighbour's yard. They said it wasn't that deep and I got it stuck. So yeah, sorry about that, dad."
The cyclone had hit his home town just two days before the start of the first Test between England and New Zealand, and Ticker opened up on his conversation with his dad about whether to play the Test or not.
"I finally got hold of my dad and he just wanted us to represent our family well and represent Hawke's Bay. I couldn't really say no to playing my first Test and I knew I was going to help out, I just wanted to be a bright light for them at home."
New Zealand Cricket (NZC), on Wednesday, are partnering with the ANZ to raise money towards the New Zealand Red Cross Disaster Fund during the ODI series against Sri Lanka. The proceeds from the match would directly go to helping the affected people.
"We were wanting to help out how we could," Tickner said, "and it's awesome to see NZC and ANZ coming forward for the first game against Sri Lanka. It's going to be awesome. Hopefully, we can have a sell-out and all that money goes to them. The cyclone, it's around the whole of New Zealand - it's been hard for everyone throughout the country, I'm not saying just Hawke's Bay. I just want everyone to go out and support and you can help donate food, clothing all around New Zealand. So everyone can help."
While Tickner is definitely affected by the happenings back home, the pacer put it out that the BlackCaps will bounce back and put on a strong counter-punch.
"I definitely want to get my first win in Test match cricket and really want to do it for the people in Hawke's Bay," he said. "Now we've banded together as a team and fundraising this money I think it's going to be very special."