Monday, 31 July 2006

John Wright

John Wright's new book has sparked controversy, and it hasn't even hit shelves yet. While the Herald, like most of us, is mostly fascinated by Wright's relationship with the mercurial Sourav Ganguly (average for Northamptonshire this season, 4.80) - comments made about the way Indian selection panels are run have caused a storm in India. Wright himself has felt obliged to step in and ask people to stop quoting him out of context.

Sunday, 30 July 2006

County form

New Zealanders have been banging around more runs in the county championship, Hamish Marshall and Craig Spearman both hitting centuries and most of the other batsmen getting at least a start. Here are their current season averages:

Andre Adams 230 runs at 32.85 and 18 wickets at 43.00
Nathan Astle 122 runs at 30.50 and 1 wicket at 31.00
Stephen Fleming 426 runs at 38.72
James Franklin 240 runs at 34.28 and 16 wickets at 27.62
Brendon McCullum 306 runs at 61.20
Hamish Marshall 509 runs at 63.62
Craig Spearman 817 runs at 43.00
Scott Styris 503 runs at 45.72 and 13 wickets at 38.23
Lou Vincent 47 runs at 15.66

Friday, 28 July 2006

US laps up tickets for the World Cup

The first phase of ticket applications for the World Cup in Caribbean ends on 31 July. And so far the two places where the majority of ticket applicants come from are the UK and the US. Most of the US applicants will obviously be Commonwealth born people living in the US, but I still find it an odd thing to discover.

"Top End" ends

The New Zealand ‘A’ tour of Northern Australia ended last night with a victory over Pakistan ‘A’. In a solid, but unspectacular, batting performance New Zealand ‘A’ scored 222 and then bowled out Pakistan ‘A’ for 172. Jamie How top scored with 48 while Warren McSkimming and Matthew Orchard both took cheap braces.

The “Top End” series has been a pretty good experiment. A group of second-string New Zealanders got to try their hand against good opposition in quite testing conditions. And most came through pretty well. All of the top order batsmen - Jesse Ryder Jamie How, Peter Fulton, Matthew Sinclair, Craig McMillan, Michael Papps, Shannen Stewart, Rob Nicol and Ross Taylor – did well and all put good scores on the board. And while the bowling attack was generally solid rather than spectacular – apart from a fiery 5 wicket burst from Mark Gillespie against India ‘A’ – it did its job well enough.

The tour ended with the side having recorded a 100% success rate in 50-over matches, notching victories against Australia ‘A’, India ‘A’, Pakistan ‘A’, Queensland and Northern Territory (twice). In the only first-class match of the tour it lost by three wickets to India ‘A’ and it also lost both the Twenty20 matches it played.

Thursday, 27 July 2006

An Indian Summer

John Wright's new book, An Indian Summer, goes on sale today. According to the Press this book states that Wrighty applied for the New Zealand coaching job in 1999 and was left angry by New Zealand Cricket's selection processes.

Let's hope New Zealand Cricket doesn't repeat its earlier mistakes. John Bracewell's reign ends in April and nabbing someone like John Wright to replace him should be at the very top of Martin Snedden's list of priorities.

A quiet spell

A whole stack of New Zealanders were in action as the latest round of the county championship kicked off last night, but most of them just stood around and did nothing for most of the day. Stephen Fleming's 53 for Nottinghamshire was the highlight - narrowly shadowing Lou Vincent first run for Worcestershire (he ended the day on 1 not out). Brendon McCullum was the only other New Zealander to get a chance to bat, and he unfortunately had to retire injured after reaching 4. Scott Styris was the only player to roll his arm over and he took 1-65 for Middlesex against Durham.

And I should have posted this a couple of days ago, New Zealand 'A' gave India 'A' a real thumping as their Australian tour winds down. Mark Gillespie took a 5 wicket bag and Jesse Ryder thumped 114 from only 84 balls.

Monday, 24 July 2006

Domestic season details

Someone in the office just suggested that we start thinking about applying for Christmas leave. And New Zealand Cricket has just announced the schedule for the domestic cricket season. There might be snow on those hills, but I can start to sense a hint of summer in the breeze.

Contract issues

The New Zealand cricketers may go on strike. Of course no-one is going to notice because they don't have any cricket to play, but I am sure that they will tell us that this is beside the point. $200,000 is a pitiful amount for sitting around on your arse all summer.

According to the Herald the issue that has the players up in arms is a "participation contract" which addresses personal image and sponsorship rights during ICC tournaments. The players claim that such a contract will reduce their capacity to earn sponsorship money and is, in essence, a restraint on their ability to earn.

Friday, 21 July 2006

Players with domestic contracts

The players who have received contracts from their provinces for the 2006/7 season are:

Auckland: Carl Cachopa, Tama Canning, Derek de Boorder, Martin Guptill, Paul Hitchcock, Richard Jones, Tim Lythe, Tim McIntosh, Andy McKay, Rob Nicol, Lance Shaw , Reece Young.

Canterbury: Todd Astle, Hamish Bennett, Leighton Burtt, Andrew Ellis, Chris Harris, Brandan Hiini, Craig McMillan, Iain Robertson, Richard Sherlock, Shanan Stewart, Kruger Van Wyk, Paul Wiseman.

Central Districts: Geoff Barnett, Chris Cruikshank, Brendon Diamanti, Campbell Furlong, Bevan Griggs, Lance Hamilton, Greg Hay, Brent Hefford, Greg Hegglun, Dominic Rayner, Ewen Thompson, Tim Weston.

Northern Districts: Graeme Aldridge, Ian Butler, Alun Evans, Daniel Flynn, Nick Horsley, Peter McGlashan, James Marshall, Bruce Martin, Mark Orchard, Daryl Tuffey, BJ Watling, Joseph Yovich.

Otago: Neil Broom, Craig Cumming, Gareth Hopkins, Nathan McCullum, James McMillan, Warren McSkimming, Aaron Redmond, Bradley Scott, Gareth Shaw, Jordan Sheed, Craig Smith, Greg Todd.

Wellington: Matthew Bell, Dewayne Bowden, Grant Elliot, Sam Fairley, Mark Gillespie, Stuart Mills, Chris Nevin, Iain O'Brien, Michael Parlane, Neal Parlane, Jesse Ryder, Luke Woodcock.

Players contracted directly to New Zealand Cricket are expected to represent their province as part of that contract. It is good to see a number of previously injured players returning to the lists, with Ian Butler, Daryl Tuffey and Richard Sherlock all providing a boost to the bowling ranks.

More county news

It was another good day for New Zealanders in England. Nathan Astle was in a bit of a batting slump during the Twenty20 matches, but came right yesterday with 84 for Lancashire against Kent. In Chelmsford Jimmy Franklin scored 7 and took 2-26 against Essex, while team-mate Brendon McCullum scored 13. Scott Styris is currently on 54 not out for Middlesex and Hamish Marshall marked his return from injury with 56 not out for Gloucestershire. Craig Spearman scored 15 while Lou Vincent bucked the trend and marked his first-class debut for Worcestershire with an inauspicious 0.

Wednesday, 19 July 2006

Ben well our boys are doing

By my estimate, the English county season is about half way through. I thought it might be interesting to compare how the various New Zealanders (and Craig Spearman) were doing. So I've put together a table of their averages.

County ChampionshipC&G TrophyTwenty20 Cup
PlayerBattingBowlingBattingBowling BattingBowling

Jimmy = Brett Lee

James Franklin has been fined three penalty points for bowling two beamers during a Twenty20 match for Glamorgan. The way the English disciplinary system works is that if you accumulate six points in any two year period you are automatically suspended. The Guardian has some sympathy for Jimmy, explaining that conditions were slippery and treacherous.

Ben on...fine performances but no wins

Three New Zealanders put in decent performances for their counties (McCullum 160 & 16, Fleming 80 & 0, Styris 0 & 80*, 2-40 & 0-0), but all the games ended in draws.

The result was even worse for our favourite ex-kiwi, Speaman, whose solid performance (70 & 51) featured in a loss.

Monday, 17 July 2006

McCullum starts with a bang

Brendon McCullum's first-class career in England began with a bang. He posted the highest score ever made by a debutant for Glamorgan, 160.

Meanwhile Stephen Fleming made 81 for Nottinghamshire and Craig Spearman scored 70 and 51 for Gloucestershire. Scott Styris is again best forgotten, scoring 0 for Middlesex against Warwickshire.

Meanwhile Dylan Cleaver artfully combines the recent debates about player burn-out and New Zealand's empty calender into one neat article for the Herald.

Sunday, 16 July 2006

The not out club

Three New Zealanders are playing in the current round of county matches, and all three ended the day with a nice "not out" next to their names on the scorecard. Brendon McCullum led the way with 80 (on his first-class debut for Glamorgan), while Stephen Fleming scored 64 and Craig Spearman scored 43.

Saturday, 15 July 2006

A good day for India, a bad day for New Zealand

Both New Zealand 'A' teams currently in Darwin managed to lose to Indian sides yesterday. The "Black" side went down by 3 wickets in the first-class match against India 'A', while the "White" side lost a Twenty20 encounter with an Indian academy side.

Friday, 14 July 2006

Good news on the bowling front

According to this Newstalk ZB story, Daryl Tuffey and Ian Butler are both on the mend after long injury lay-offs.

Ben on...Crowe getting a reaction

Martin Crowe's claim in his reactionary Cowdrey Lecture that the bent-arm law has become a problem has prompted a reaction from the ICC, who claim that the current system is better. I have to ask, if the system was so good 10 years ago, why did Crowe have such a problem back then?

Another summary of the lecture can be found on the Lord's site, and an audio of the lecture has also been made available.

Thursday, 13 July 2006

Martin Crowe speaks his mind

Golly, Martin Crowe sure didn't pull any punches after he was invited to give this season's MCC "Spirit of Cricket" speech at Lord's. Into his cross-hairs came the new chucking laws, "a certain Sri Lankan bowler", Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and the ICC.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world in Darwin, Craig McMillan scored a century as New Zealand 'A' scored 332 against India 'A' and restricted the Indians to 209/6 (the score in the linked report is a typo) on day two of their four day match.

Wednesday, 12 July 2006

NZ 'A' vs India 'A'

New Zealand 'A' made a solid start in their four day match against India 'A' in Darwin. The team reached 257/4 by stumps with Michael Papps, Matthew Sinclair and Craig McMillan all scoring half centuries.

Meanwhile, New Zealand's other 'A' team ("New Zealand A Black") lost against South Africa 'A' and then best an Indian Academy XI in Twenty20 matches. Jesse Ryder showed some big hitting skills in both matches, scoring 67 and 63 - and sending batting partner Jamie How off for some x-rays with a drive that hit Jamie on the hand.

Saturday, 8 July 2006

A good day

While New Zealanders in county cricket thrashed plenty of runs, the New Zealand 'Black' team thrashed Northern Territory in Darwin. The best individual performances came from Craig Spearman (63 for Gloucestershire), Lou Vincent (40 for Worcestershire), Brendon McCullum (40 off 15 balls for Glamorgan), Stephen Fleming (40 for Nottinghamshire), Peter Fulton (80 for NZ 'Black'), Shanan Stewart (70 for NZ 'Black'), Jesse Ryder (65 for NZ 'Black') and Ross Taylor (43 and 5-31 for NZ 'Black').

A good day

While New Zealanders in county cricket thrashed plenty of runs, the New Zealand 'Black' team thrashed Northern Territory in Darwin. The best individual performances came from Craig Spearman (63 for Gloucestershire), Lou Vincent (40 for Worcestershire), Brendon McCullum (40 off 15 balls for Glamorgan), Stephen Fleming (40 for Nottinghamshire), Peter Fulton (80 for NZ 'Black'), Shanan Stewart (70 for NZ 'Black'), Jesse Ryder (65 for NZ 'Black') and Ross Taylor (43 and 5-31 for NZ 'Black').

Friday, 7 July 2006

NZ 'A' marches on

After the "Black" side slammed Australia 'A' in the first game of the 'A' series, the New Zealand "White" team beat Northern Territory in the second match. Matthew Bell led from the front with a century as the team rattled up 262/6 and then restricted the Northern Territory side to 234/7. ND spinner Bruce Martin shone with the ball, taking 3-23 off his ten overs.

Thursday, 6 July 2006

A good start

An excellent start by the New Zealand 'A' side in Darwin. Led by Jamie How's unbeaten 123 the side cruised past Australia 'A's 236/7 for the loss of only two wickets. Mark Gillespie was the pick of the New Zealand bowlers, taking the wickets of the first three Australia 'A' batsmen for 49 runs.

Wednesday, 5 July 2006

'A' team news

The New Zealand 'A' team are about to take on Australia 'A' team in Darwin. Our team is a strong one, but the Australians have an intimidating line up. Shane Watson is there, as is new sensation Phil Jacques and test double centurion Brad Hodge. The full teams for the first match are:

New Zealand 'A'
Jamie How, Michael Papps, Ross Taylor, Peter Fulton (captain), James Marshall, Peter McGlashan, Nathan McCullum, Warren McSkimming, Mark Gillespie, Graeme Aldridge, Bradley Scott.

Australia 'A'
Brad Haddin (captain), Brad Hodge, Travis Birt, Mark Cosgrove, Daniel Cullen, Brett Dorey, Ben Hilfenhaus, James Hopes, Phil Jaques, Mitchell Johnson, Shaun Tait, Shane Watson

Monday, 3 July 2006

Some cricket at last

It is said that beggars can't be chosers, and when the banquet is looking this thin we should be grateful for every morsel. So it is with great relief that I can finally offer you some cricket involving a representative New Zealand team. New Zealand 'A' has set off for Australia to participate in some matches against other 'A' teams.

Saturday, 1 July 2006

The art of pitch analysis

Jeremy Coney gets profiled in a diary on the India vs West Indies test series. Coney, it seems, is becoming recognised as an expert in the art of predicting how a pitch will play.