Friday, 29 December 2006

Bowling dross

Richard Boock thought New Zealand bowled a pile of dross yesterday, and I agree. "Some of the most inept bowling imaginable" fails to give the attack justice. Figures like 9-0-64-0 (Gillespie), 6-0-60-0 (Mason) and 7-0-54-0 (Adams) might look bad, but even they manage to look inflated because after reaching 201 in 24 overs Sri Lankans eased back and hit cruise control. The fact that there were 27 extras is perhaps more indicative of the rubbish served up. Gillespie can be excused a few nerves, but he concedes 4.89 runs per over for Wellington so I don't think that is only problem. Mason showed in the last Twenty20 match that he can be lethal when conditions suit seam bowling, but yesterday again demonstrated that he is cannon-fodder on a good batting surface. Adams might be another suffering some nerves. It is a fair while between drinks for the Auckland all-rounder and I suspect he is a little too desperate to succeed.

The "rotation policy" is becoming an issue for me. It makes sense if it is used to test out and give experience to young players like Ross Taylor - but when it is used to bring in players like Mason who are in their 30s and have tried and failed before - it loses a lot of its value. Indeed its only value then becomes to give players like Bond and Oram a rest.

Winning is a habit. And the best preparation New Zealand can have for the World Cup is to start winning. Yes, its going to be a long season and yes, players need a rest. But if a rotation policy is going to be in place then it should be used to rest one key player at a time - not half the damn team.


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Suhas said...

Mason should really have been replaced with Chris Martin, who bowled pretty well in the test series: I don't think the kiwis would be worse off that way. Also, Vettori is not a middle order batsman, I'd much rather see established players do the job and leaving the late run scoring to him.

Anonymous said...

A lot of this criticism is unfair.

Suffering from a spate of injuries to the team, with an arduous summer in the CB Series then the World Cup to come I think the rotation policy makes sense.

Regrettably it may have directly cost NZ the game on Friday and it is a shame for home crowds to see a weakened national side put onto the paddock.

However players and management will have gained knowledge and experience from this game. Ross Taylor's cramps were a result of being too nervous before the game to eat or drink anything! Now, in only his third game, he has an international ton under his belt. Similarly Vettori isn't going to bat at five in the World Cup but the hope was that he will continue to develop and maintain batting skills that might well win a game for NZ in the future. Remember McCullum, Fulton and Vettori rescuing NZ from 49/5 chasing 200 at Queenstown back in February?

A final note - the game at Napier was played on a fantastic batting wicket with small boundaries encircling a fast outfield. Sri Lanka's batsmen revel in such conditions and their aggressive strokeplay pays off handsomely. But at Queenstown tomorrow don't be surprised to see the boot on the other foot, as Mason, Gillespie and Franklin could well get their revenge.

Karl said...

I think a lot of the criticism of the bowlers is quite fair. This is supposed to be an international lineup.

James Franklin really should have stepped up - too often now he is starting to show that when the pressure comes on he crumbles. His captain could have helped him there, but he's now a pretty experienced international player.

I have always maintained that Andre Adams is not an international class bowler. When he gets players out its with bad deliveries. Yesterday Jonathon Millmow wrote that he'll be persisted with because of his batting - that's pathetic. If you don't have enough faith in your batsmen, get new batsmen.

Mason should be persisted with to give him a chance. Why has O'Brien not been tested? He bowled well again yesterday at domestic level.

Interestingly, in yesterday's domestic games Rob Nicol sent down some very useful offspinners.

Karel said...

Agree and disagree with some of the comments. Overall it was a pretty inept display by our bowlers. Sure, the wicket was a good un and the boundries were small. But no matter how good the pitch or how small the ground, if you bowl in the 'zone' ball after ball ala McGrath or Clarke then you take the above factors out of the equation.
I still dont think Mason has what it takes at this level which is a pity because he had all the makings of a decent stock bowler. I have a lot of faith in Adams and love his attacking style. But he only works when we have someone putting pressure on at the other end. Ultimately i think the Sri Lankans found our attack very samey. Just one 135km medium pacer after the other allowed them to adjust quickly. However dont discount the fact that, on his day, Jayisuriya is destructive and world class. Hes torn apart the Australian attack (warne, lee, mcgrath) a few times too.
With the World Series in mind (and the world cup) i think our squad should include:
Then choose from the above to suit the conditions. Astle will always be on hand to chip in with a few overs. I like the look of Gillespie but hes rough and needs a bit of time to develop (hence, taking him to Aussie). Still think Martin is underated. He was the pick of the bowlers in the tests.
I wont rush to judge the team after one game. See how the series pans out. I still dont think McCullum should open despite the mindset of seemingly everyone. If we persist with him there then i dont see why he shouldnt keep also (ala Gilchrist). Otherwise we're just wasting a valuable middle order spot on a domestic keeper who isnt quite up to international level.