Saturday, 31 July 2004

Going, going...

I am talking about Shane Bond this time.  Another year, another stress fracture.  He is 29 years old and will be 30 by the time he will be able to bowl again.  And how many 30 year old out and out pace bowlers have you ever seen?   

Sunday, 25 July 2004


Now I have heard the rationale, it does make a little sense.  Why schedule test matches (which apart from the Basin never draw a crowd) over the period of summer when everyone is on holiday looking for things to do?  Why not play the one-dayers after Christmas and save the test matches for later in the summer, when the weather is more settled anyway?

Still, from a personal perspective as a Wellingtonian - it is a very sad loss indeed.

Wednesday, 21 July 2004

The Boxing Day test

Going, going...

The Boxing Day test

Going, going...

Monday, 19 July 2004

A plague of New Zealanders

Andre Adams has just been signed by Essex.  Which means we currently have four players on the County circuit - Adams, Ian Butler at Kent, and James Edward Charles and Craig Spearman at Gloucestershire.  With Chris Cairns (Notts), Nathan Astle (Notts and Derby), Dan Vettori (Notts) and Stephen Fleming (Middlesex) all having played the county game in recent years, England is turning into quite the nursery for New Zealand talent.
Unfortunately nurses sometimes seem to take a shine to the kiddies, and in one case at least, the kiddy is starting to take a shine to nursey - Craig Spearman has said in an interview with Wisden that he would consider playing for England if the chance arose - stating that he now felt more at home in England than he did in New Zealand.  Hum. 

Tino Best, Bester, Bestest

Is there anything in cricket more appealing than a batty fast bowler?  Tino Best is the latest to challenge Shoaib Akhtar for the title of "quick, but bonkers".  Which reminds me, I wonder what ever happened to Heath Davis' modelling career?

Monday, 12 July 2004

A happy ending?

A comprehensive victory in a series we completely dominated. But has any victory felt less hollow? The one day matches could not cover up the holes exposed by the tests.

Still, I will take a hollow victory over a loss any day of the week.


PWC has updated its ratings again. Of course, with only one game since the last update there hasn't been much change. But Stephen Fleming has climbed to 6th in the world and Jacob Oram (the world's 5th best bowler remember) has broken the 800 point mark. What is interesting about this latter fact is that no single batsman currently has a rating above 783. The ratings themselves seem to play swings and roundabouts. I suspect that a rash of low scoring matches in recent months has contributed, with the PWC algorithms interpreting these as being indicative of bowler skill. To me, poor wickets worldwide seem a more likely reason.

An the basis of the latest test ratings, PWC has issued its own "World XI". It is no surprise that a New Zealander has not made the cut.

Friday, 9 July 2004

Ratings, rankings and other naval terms

I know I have had this discussion before, but I find it fascinating that the team fighting to be ranked the second best in the world (ie us) has so few star performers. I raise this again because Cricinfo has just listed Wisden’s pick for a World one day XI and a World test XI. Not one New Zealander makes either team. Okay, given the recent loss to England there is little surprise that no-one has been selected in the test side. But no New Zealander is in a World XI for one day matches? This seems very odd until you ask yourself who you would pick. Chris Cairns? Well maybe, but most would agree that Andrew Flintoff would shunt him aside on recent form. Stephen Fleming is currently our batsman in the best form - but would he displace Ponting, Hayden, Gilchrist, Lara or Tendulkar? (ummmm, no. The question is rhetorical dumbarse).

The lack of stars becomes even more marked when you look at PWC’s latest ODI ratings. Stephen Fleming has just reached his highest rating ever (702) and is currently ranked the 8th best batsman in the world, but no other New Zealander makes the top 20. On the bowling tables, Jake Oram has also hit his highest rating (799) and is ranked the 5th best bowler in the world. (as an aside, I think you should read that sentence again and suck in the significance of his achievement). Darryl Tuffey (12th) and Shane Bond (19th) have slipped, unsurprisingly given their lack of recent cricket, and Chris Cairn has just climbed 15 places to be ranked 29th.

So, strictly on the strength of ratings Jake Oram might make a World side. But if you were a selector, even with rosy spectacles and a beige shirt, wouldn’t you be tempted to pick Glenn McGrath, or Brett Lee, or Shoaib Akhtar ahead of him?

Second best side in the world? Not on paper my friend. And to my mind, that makes our achievement all the greater.

Monday, 5 July 2004


Isn't it nice to have a quick bowler back in the side? Flitoff's clanging at the hands of Ian Butler was a thing of brutal beauty.

Butler (Kent) and James Edward Charles (Gloucestershire) will both be plying their trade on the county circuit come the end of this series. Which can only be good for the development of Franklin, at least. Given Butler's injury worries and the short-life span of most fast bowlers, I would prefer him to be treated with kid gloves and cotton wool.

It is hard to see England getting up to beat anyone after yesterday's match. Harmison aside their bowling is woeful and their batting lacks that tight mix of invention and stickability we seem to have found. In contrast I still believe the West Indies are capable of surprising. Bravo just keeps taking wickets and if Best can get those 155mph rockets pointed in the right direction then they will have an attack capable of knocking any side over. And you can never right off a team with such maverick geniuses as Lara and Gayle in its batting line-up.

Here's hoping that it is England we will meet in the final.