Monday, 18 December 2006

The batting

Sri Lanka booted our arses at the Basin. So where did it all go wrong? I'll give you a clue. Here are the New Zealand batting averages for the series:

NJ Astle – 52 runs at 13
SE Bond – 15 runs at 5
CD Cumming – 119 runs at 29.75
SP Fleming – 75 runs at 18.75
JEC Franklin – 45 runs at 15
JM How – 70 runs at 17.5
BB McCullum – 74 runs at 24.67
CS Martin – 4 runs, no average
JDP Oram – 18 runs at 6
MS Sinclair – 83 runs at 20.75
DL Vettori – 114 runs at 38
Hmmm. Notice anything odd about that list? Like the fact that the blimmin' top order frickin' failed yet a-bloody-gain. Crickey. How many more times do we have to hear Stephen Fleming mouth the words "the top order let us down" before we manage to fix the damn problem? I know New Zealand hasn't got the largest pool of talent in the world, but somehow, somewhere there must be a solution.

Maybe the selectors could consider picking the 22 year old who averages 45.82 in first-class cricket? Or the other 22 year old who just hit 217 and who averaged 43 when given a chance in last season's Twenty20s (at a run rate of 245.71)? Maybe they could look at what members of the New Zealand team were doing out drinking one night in the middle of a damn test match they were in the process of losing? I dunno. Fixing the problem isn't my job. That's the job of the coach. And at the moment I really don't envy him.


Karl said...

Hmm, I'd be a bit wary of pushing either of them into test cricket. Ryder is a headcase who I don't think has the temperament for international cricket.

Taylor looks interesting and what we know is that he can put away bad bowling. But don't forget that the Sri Lankan bowling lineup is actually pretty bloody fantastic. Taylor has never really been exposed to great bowling - he'll play ODIs this summer and it'll be good to see how he goes against the likes of McGrath, Lee and Harmison.

As far as tests go, the best thing NZ can do is drop Bracewell. Our batsmen had no patience (except Vettori) and played like they had somewhere else to be. How looks to be an international class player but Cumming doesn't. I'd bring in McIntosh in place of Cumming.

What was heartening was Daniel Vettori further developing into a world-class player and Chris Martin getting wickets early in the season.

parker said...

I'm a big believer in Fleming, but had to wonder about his "unique bowling actions" excuse. We have professional batsmen, chosen to represent their country, who are expected to perform against whatever is thrown their way with bent elbows, slingshots, rocket launchers, whatever.. Blaming anything other that one's own poor performance is not the way of a world beating team, particularly coming from the skipper. All the middle order had played them before and knew what to prepare themselves for. I can imagine that Malinga is difficult to face, and quite frankly I can't believe he is allowed to bowl like that, but our batsmen have and will face greater threats than him. Agreed, Bracewell has to go as test coach, Snedden too, and whoever else is thwarting New Zealand of playing a decent amount of test cricket. Having waited this long for a test this year, I was staggered to read that our next test will be in South Africa next year. If we can make excuses for not performing at test level, this could be one. Cricketers and true cricket fans are being deprived of the game they enjoy the most.

Karel said...

Comments about Taylor and Ryder are, to be blunt, rubbish. Ryders a "headcase"? So what. Ricky Ponting was a hot head early in his career and ever heard of Afridi, Gayle, Shewag? All a little wild, all a little different but a year or two at the top level seems to bring about a lot more discipline while (hopefully) not stemming that little bit of eccentricity.
But you make a good point - seems in the Bracewell era if you dont fit his mould of a cricketer then he doesnt want you there.

As for Taylor, are you trying to tell me he wouldnt do any better than How or Cumming? He has far more natural talent and we have to blood him NOW, not later. Hes shown he can take apart domestic attacks so why not give him an opportunity at a higher level? Both Taylor and Ryder strike me as having an Australian type mentality, an arrogance and self confidence that makes them believe (rightly or wrongly) that they can take on the best. And win. And we need that.

I love seeing Vettori succeed. Hes slowly developed into a world class all rounder and there can be no arguement now that he only scores his runs against lesser opponents like Zimbabwe etc.
Looking forward to the one day series. More so, to the World Series over the New Year.

Karl said...

"Bracewell has to go as test coach, Snedden too"

Looks like you have part of your wish - - Snedden is finishing in May to head the Rugby World Cup 2011 Tournament company.

Re karel's comments on Ryder and Taylor - fair calls, although if Ryder is to mature in the NZ national team then a better coach is definitely needed.

Karel said...

Definately agree. I havent heard of any other people who could be in line should Bracewell step down after the World Cup. I still think the man who did the best job in rescuing NZ cricket from the doldrums was Rixon. Perhaps we need another in the same mould?

parker said...

An Aussie-like temperment is not a bad yardstick for the selectors. One of the best teams we’ve had in recent years – the highly successful (legendary in my books) team that went to England in 1999 – was packed with such players: Cairns, Parore, Nash, McMillian. They were all aggressive cricketers who even sledged like Aussies. Then there was Allot, Fleming, Astle and Harris. What a team that was. Two of them had their careers cut short by injury, another’s was severely blighted by injury, one just gave up, another failed to realise his early potential and the rest are just fading away.

At the same time Aussie had Lee (just starting out), Warne, Gilchrist, McGrath, Hayden, Langer, Martyn, Ponting. The team has barely changed in all this time and they’ve never lost the flighting spirit.

Bring on Ryder