Dec 16 2009

Washout

Dammit dammit dammit dammit!

Dammit that the test had to finish like this.

Dammit that nearly five days of cricket, including O’Brien’s spell of awesome, Vettori’s century, Tuffey’s out of the blue 80, Pakistan’s fight-back, Guptill’s fight-back-back, was washed away by a scant hour of rain. In fact, that trivial shower of rain in the deciding hour of the deciding test of the series has made irrelevant the two tests that preceded it.

Dammit!


Dec 3 2009

Cheer up Crucket, it’s not as bad as all that

I feel I was far too pessimistic in my last post so I’m going to look on the bright side as the kick off for the 2nd test approaches.

Losing Shane Bond was a big blow, no doubt, but the bowling attack that we’ll take into the Basin test, Martin, O’Brien, Tuffey and Vettori most likely,  is still strong. The strongest in the country excepting Bond. There shouldn’t be much doubt they can take 20 wickets, particularly at the Basin. So if they get 700 runs or so out of the batsmen across the match, we’ll be in with a good chance.


Jun 28 2009

2009-10 contracts

Here is the list of contract players for 2009-10:

  • Brent Arnel
  • Shane Bond
  • Neil Broom
  • Ian Butler
  • Grant Elliott
  • James Franklin
  • Daniel Flynn
  • Martin Guptill
  • Gareth Hopkins
  • Brendon McCullum
  • Tim McIntosh
  • Chris Martin
  • Kyle Mills
  • Iain O’Brien
  • Jacob Oram
  • Jeetan Patel
  • Jesse Ryder
  • Tim Southee
  • Ross Taylor
  • Daniel Vettori

.
The new names in the list are

  • Brent Arnel
  • Shane Bond
  • Neil  Broom
  • Ian Butler
  • Grant Elliott
  • Martin Guptill
  • Time McIntosh

The big news is Shane Bond’s return. It is great that the hatchet has been buried. I would say it is highly likely Bond will be playing in Sri Lanka, sooner than I had expected. Ian Butler’s return is a real fairystory that is being overshadowed by Bond’s story. The only bolter on the list is Brent Arnel; as far as I can tell the only uncapped signing, though he has been picked for a Black Caps squad before. Arnel has been playing for Northern for about 4 years, I think, and has encouraging figures of 77 wickets at an average of 26 and SR of 57 – comparable to Southee’s figures. Guptill is an obvious signing. McIntosh acceptable. Elliot a bit depressing. And Broom, really one of NZ’s top 20 players?

The players that have lost contracts are

  • Peter Fulton
  • Mark Gillespie
  • Jamie How
  • James Marshall
  • Michael Mason
  • Aaron Redmond
  • Scott Styris

Styris dropped. Wow. I’m not actually surprised that he was dropped. I’m just surprised that he has fallen so far so fast. And it’s not like he hasn’t been trying to keep his career alive. There should be no tears shed over the other drops. It is disappointing we didn’t get more out of Gillespie, but there just wasn’t a place for him in the team.

The list of players who missed out, apart from those contracted last year, is endless of course. But I’ll try to think of a few notable ommissions.

  • Darryl Tuffey. Back in the frame but will have to fight to prove himself. We probably won’t see him considered for the Black Caps until after he’s played some domestic cricket.
  • Nathan McCullum. Given that he is a first choice for the 20-20 team, it’s an oddity that he isn’t getting a contract.
  • Peter McGlashan. Again a victim of being a 20-20 specialist when 20-20 is considered at all in setting contracts. However, he goes straight into the team if Brendon McCullum can’t play or can’t keep.

Mar 29 2009

Welcoming home the prodigal sons

There have been several hopeful stories of NZ’s ICL rebels possibly being welcomed back to the fold due to a reconciliation between the ICL and BCCI. In all of those stories, the hope turned out to be despairing. There would be no reconciliation between the two.

The only credible end to the impasse with the BCCI refusing to recognise the ICL was for the ICL to fold. With the ICL’s cancelling of its March “World Series”, the collapse of the ICL seems to be on the cards. Another strong indication that the ICL is at least shrivelling up is the report that an offer has been made to the New Zealand members of the league that they can be released from their contracts if they choose.

If this report is true, it is a very interesting development. While it might be optimistic to think that gaining release from their contracts would automatically remove the rebel stigma from them (Hamish Marshall has left the ICL but is still treated like a pariah), it is still a necessary step in their rehabilitation.

The NZ players in the ICL are Shane Bond, Darryl Tuffey, Nathan Astle, Craig McMillan, Chris Harris, Andre Adams and Lou Vincent. Astle, McMillan and Harris are all effectively retired or beyond selection. They would have no good reason to ditch their contracts. The other four however are interesting cases. Adams and Vincent would remain potential selections for New Zealand (considerably more so with Bracewell moving on), though they would have to fight hard for places in the squad. Shane Bond is a bit of a mystery. Almost everyone involved in cricket in New Zealand would want to see him back playing for New Zealand. However, he has stated many times that he would not come back even if the opportunity arose. It might also invalidate a lot of the content of his tell-all autobiography. Of course, he hasn’t absolutely ruled it out, to my knowledge, and he could always add a happy-ending final few chapters of leading the Black Caps bowling at the 2011 World Cup and some IPL glory.

If anyone is going to make best use of this opportunity it is Darryl Tuffey. While he is by no means NZ’s best bowler, our heavy artillery is so depleted, he would be welcomed back enthusiastically.