Oct 7 2010

Celebrating McCullum

Brendon McCullum has won the T20 Performance of the Year at the ICC Awards for his 116 against Australia at Christchurch. I haven’t bothered to find out what the other contenders were, I don’t need to – there could be no contest to that amazing innings.

Relive it below (or see a longer version in two parts with better picture quality, more inane commentary, but less annoying music):

Apr 26 2010

2010 schedule

I have gone through my schedule of Black Caps’ fixtures and cleared out any series prior to 2010. The schedule itself is a monthly thing – the details are in the daily schedule, where the action starts at the ICC World Twenty20 2010.

Currently the rest of 2010 is dominated by 21 days of scheduled cricket against Sri Lanka. It also includes 2 ODIs against India, 1 T20i against Zimbabwe (with the tour to Zimbabwe itself has been canned) and warm up T20s against Ireland and the Windies.

Dec 26 2009

Lean summer

Boxing day and there is no international cricket in New Zealand. How very sad.

In fact there is not any international cricket scheduled in New Zealand until February. The better part of summer will pass with no international cricket. The bold claim by New Zealand Cricket of this being a busy summer has a gaping hole in it, namely the month and a half gap between the Pakistan series and the Bangladesh series. When we did last have a summer that included over a month of no international cricket? Ever in the modern era?

Dec 20 2009

He smashed it bro!

It stunk that the 3rd test with Pakistan ended the way it did. But better that than the end to the 3rd Aus-WI test: Roach given out caught off Bollinger, Roach appeals, replays suggest no hot spot, no noise and no deviation and yet the decision is upheld.

Surely when the three possible evidences of an edge are negative, that is proof that there was no edge. The Roach situation is precisely the type of situation that the referral system was intended to fix.

Ah well. Australia probably would have won anyway. Great to see the Windies fighting hard though, both in this test and the 2nd. Very interesting also to see the Aussies get ugly under pressure.

Bit of a slap on the wrist for Shane Watson for his sending off of Gayle, 15% of his match fee.  But the fact that you can so easily link to a video of him being a dick is probably punishment enough. For as long as the video remains available at least. I see the the video of Benn, Haddin and Johnson pushing and swearing has been pulled from Youtube. It’s a pity, as it was interesting viewing. Watching the video it is hard to see why Benn got punished so severely. We see Benn serve up a lot of cursing, a shaping to throw and a lot of pointing. But the only deliberate forceful contact between players was Johnson pushing Benn away right at the end of the whole farrago.

Aug 23 2009

Astonishing Ashes

The first test between New Zealand and Sri Lanka was fairly straightforward. Obviously the food poisoning made any heroics by New Zealand impossible, but even considering that the test was won by the better team who scored more runs and took more wickets.

This Ashes cricket however, I just can’t get a bead on. The state of the series see-saws from test to test. Innings to innings even. From delivery to delivery? How can you understand a series with innings scores ranging from 674/6 to 102? Where the momentum from a win only carries you to an innings defeat? A series where Michael Clarke and Stuart Broad are heroes?

There are only as many as two days left in this test series and Australia are chasing an indomitable 546 runs. But with all the twists and u-turns that have gone before in this series, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Australia rose up and won this test.

If this is how test cricket is supposed to be, then let’s see more of it!

Aug 5 2009

Rising, falling, slipping, sliding

The ICC have updated their team test rankings, and as I expected New Zealand has gone up a rank from 8 to 7 thanks to the Windies losing against Bangladesh and that being thanks to a contract dispute stripping the Windies of their front line players.

(I was going to make this post yesterday based on the July ranking, which according to the 2009 archives actually showed that New Zealand’s rating had fallen from 82 points in May (don’t know what happened to June) to 78, despite not having played test cricket for months. The ICC updates their table every year at about this time, dropping off old results, which would explain this change. It’s good I waited for a day and managed to catch the update, as our rating has inexplicably jumped back up to 82 in August, again with no cricket played. I don’t know what the ICC are up to with their ratings as they don’t explain them to us any more.)

But anyway, leaving aside West Indies misfortune, we have a rating of 82 and we have upcoming test series against teams with ratings of 119 (Sri Lanka), 84 (Pakistan), 13 (Bangladesh) and 124 (Australia), spanning the whole spectrum of the rankings as they stand at the moment.

Aug 3 2009

Aussie workload

We don’t have any official word yet on the schedule for the Australian tour here at the end of the home season. However, reports are that there will be only two tests and that the tour will wrap up on 31 March, with the last match being the second test at Hamilton.

That the marquee tour of the summer will only have two tests is very disappointing. However, it seems that NZC just haven’t been given enough time by Cricket Australia to fit in a decent tour. Australia won’t be free from their home commitments against Pakistan and the West Indies until after 23 Feb. A realistic end to the tour would be the first week of April. However, Australian workload restrictions are a further bind and pretty much rule out the possibility of three tests. Cricket Australia require 10 days between the start of the second and third tests of a tour. This would have meant that with the second test ending on 31 March, any third test would not have been able start until about 6 April. In fact it’s hard to see how we’re going to fit in a good 5-ODI series in there as well.

A quick squiz at the Aussie home schedule shows that the reason they won’t make it to New Zealand until late is because they have two 3-test series (both with the luxurious breaks between the second and third tests) and two 5-ODI series scheduled against Pakistan and the West Indies. That’s some workload. Over the same time period, New Zealand will play a 2-test series and an ODI series against Bangladesh.

Ironically we have to squeeze our 3-test series against Pakistan around the Aussie home schedule.

A very interesting aspect of the Aussie schedule is that the Windies have a huge month and a half break between their test and ODI rubbers and apparently have no other international commitments in between. I wonder if anyone has given any though to inviting them to visit for some ODIs in January.

Jul 22 2009

Ascending by other’s descent

While England was creating history of Lord’s, Bangladesh was creating a bit of history of its own in the West Indies. Bangladesh won the second test by 4 wickets, to go with the 95-run win in the first test, to take the series 2-0. That’s test wins 2 and 3 overall for Bangladesh and the first series win overseas. However, given that they were playing against a West Indies side severely weakened by a contracts dispute, there’ll be few outside Bangladesh celebrating this achievement. (In fact, I seem to recall that the Zimbabwean side beaten by Bangladesh back in 04/05 was similarly weakened.)

One bizarre consequence of this turn of events is that the Windies slip down in the official rankings, enough to push New Zealand up one place into 7th. That’s not the sort of promotion to feel proud of.

As I understand the ranking system, Bangladesh gained 3 points from their 2-0 series win. With their current rating of 0 points, this gives them 270 points, which when converted into points gives them 10. I imagine that is as many points has they have ever had. The West Indies gained 0 points, which actually gives them -15 points, or in terms of points: 78. A drop of 7 points.

Jul 21 2009

Lord’s history

What does a drought look like? Check out the huge gap in the England column of this list of victors in tests between England and Australia at Lord’s.

21 Jul 1884 England
19 Jul 1886 England
16 Jul 1888 Australia
21 Jul 1890 England
17 Jul 1893 draw
22 Jun 1896 England
15 Jun 1899 Australia
12 Jun 1902 draw
15 Jun 1905 draw
14 Jun 1909 Australia
24 Jun 1912 draw
11 Jun 1921 Australia
26 Jun 1926 draw
27 Jun 1930 Australia
22 Jun 1934 England
24 Jun 1938 draw
24 Jun 1948 Australia
25 Jun 1953 draw
21 Jun 1956 Australia
22 Jun 1961 Australia
18 Jun 1964 draw
20 Jun 1968 draw
22 Jun 1972 Australia
31 Jul 1975 draw
16 Jun 1977 draw
28 Aug 1980 draw
2 Jul 1981 draw
27 Jun 1985 Australia
22 Jun 1989 Australia
17 Jun 1993 Australia
19 Jun 1997 draw
19 Jul 2001 Australia
21 Jul 2005 Australia
16 Jul 2009 England

Jul 13 2009

The sublime and the ridiculous

So the first ashes test in Cardiff has finished in a nail biter. The English 10 and 11 held out for about 12 overs at the end of day 5, preventing what would have been a huge win for Australia.

Australia obviously played fantastically, getting 4 centuries in their one innings and ending up 1 wicket and a few runs away from a big win. England might have played poorly (particularly both of Pietersen’s dismissals), but playing out the draw showed character, and they should be more competitive in the rest of the series.

Half a world away in Kingstown, Bangladesh are fighting hard for their second ever test win, playing against a West Indian team so severely weakened by a strike due to a contract dispute that they have 7 uncapped players in the team.

The gulf that seperates the quality of these two pieces of cricket is as wide and as deep as the ocean that physically seperates the games.