Smallest ever ODI crowd at the Caketin apparently. 8299 people.
I wasn’t one of the 8299, even though I was really keen to go. But I didn’t want to go by myself and none of my cricket mad friends would go because none of them enjoy spending 6 hours sitting on the plastic yellow seats at the Caketin.
Here is New Zealand’s squad for the world cup:
Batsmen: Guptill, How, Ryder, Taylor, Williamson. All-rounders:Franklin, N McCullum, Oram, Styris, Vettori (capt), Woodcock.Wicketkeeper: B McCullum. Bowlers: Bennett, Mills, Southee.
I cribbed that from the Guardian, who have listed all the squads, helpfully categorising all the players into their roles. (The NZ Cricket list less helpfully categorises the players into provinces.)
It seems remarkable that we are only taking 3 specialist bowlers. A quick look at the other teams in the Guardian list shows that most teams are taking at least 5. Even allowing for the fact that some of our bowlers are listed as all-rounders, we seem to have a rather sparse pace contingent.
Another surprising pick, which is not so evident just from looking at the squad list, is that we have selected a backup wicketkeeper in Jamie How who has never kept wicket.
It makes me wonder how much thought has gone into this squad – not whether there has been too little thought, but whether there has been too much. Convincing yourself that a never-kept-in-his-life batsman would be a good keeper is the sort of thing you do when you start to obsess about a problem.
Thinking about a problem too much you also run the risk of utterly losing any ability to make a judgement. I wonder if that is what has happened to the selectors as they pick the batting order, as they are now asking us what we’d do.
The result in the test series with Pakistan, 0-1, where the loss was a bollucking but the draw was an even contest, doesn’t seem so different from the series loss to India, 0-1 (one bollucking, two contests), even though India is the top ranked test team while Pakistan is barely ranked higher than us and suffering the in throes of a match fixing scandal. Odd too that the ODI result against India (ranked 2 in ODIs), 0-5, was strikingly similar to the result against Bangladesh (ranked 9), 0-4.
We have taken the opposition out of the equation.
I theorise that we are not fighting against the skills of the opposition; we are simply fighting against our own incompetence.
274 runs. 10 wickets. A total that has only been beaten once before to win a test at the Basin, but a whole day to achieve it. 10 wickets on a wearing pitch. You would have to say it was 50/50.
I struggle so much to find time to blog these days, so it is quite exasperating when a game finishes so early I don’t even manage to say a word about it.
Three days of the first test have gone by and New Zealand are doing really well. Over 200 runs ahead. McCullum piling on a double century on the first day. Martin and Vettori both getting wickets. Reece Young making the most of his selection behind the stumps. … Except the match is over already, after only three days. It wasn’t the first test at all, despite featuring both teams full test squads – it was just a warm-up match.
I’m a bit confused. I thought warm-up matches were arranged as a favour for visiting teams, to help them get acclimatised to the conditions in the country they have found themselves in. And possibly give a few of the local fringe players a chance to impress against international opposition. It seems terribly cheeky to sneak our own front-line test players in and let them do some acclimatising as well.