Tuesday, 5 December 2006

Early season form

I know the season has only just started, but here is a bit of a form guide going into the first test based on performances in the first two rounds of the State Championship:

Dan Vettori - 246 runs at 123.00
Nathan Astle - 104 runs at 52.00
James Franklin - 140 runs at 46.67
Brendon McCullum - 182 runs at 45.50
Matthew Sinclair - 131 runs at 43.67
Craig Cumming - 111 runs at 37.00 (plus 50 and 8 not out against Sri Lanka)
Jamie How - 86 runs at 28.67
Stephen Fleming - 55 runs at 18.33
Shane Bond - 8 runs at 8
Michael Mason - 17 runs at 8.5
Ian O'Brien - 0 runs at 0
Jacob Oram - 0 runs at 0
Chris Martin - 0 runs at 0

Shane Bond - 7 wickets at 10.57
Michael Mason - 11 wickets at 15.54
Dan Vettori - 6 wickets at 22
Ian O'Brien - 9 wickets at 26.22
James Franklin - 5 wickets at 36.60
Jacob Oram - 1 wicket at 56.00
Chris Martin - 3 wickets at 74.00

Some of the stats for those who missed out on selection also make interesting reading:

Rob Nicol - 245 runs at 122.50
Tim McIntosh - 273 runs at 91.00
Craig McMillan - 174 runs at 87.00
Hamish Marshall - 217 runs at 72.33
Jesse Ryder - 183 runs at 61.00
Peter Fulton - 136 runs at 45.33
Ross Taylor - 100 runs at 33.33

Mark Gillespie - 9 wickets at 21.33

These figures make Mark Gillespie's non-selection even more of a surprise. I am also left worried about the lack of cricket played by Jacob Oram and by the form of Chris Martin. Martin seems to struggle at the start of every season though, and at least he has a good number of overs under his belt.

The lack of runs made by much of the top order is a bit of a concern. Astle and Sinclair (and to a lesser degree Cumming) are the only ones to have spent extended periods of time in the middle. This is especially notable when you look at the amount of runs scored by those who missed out on a spot. I guess the problem we face is that we have too many middle order players competing for a very limited number of spaces. The lower order is so strong that we can afford to play Oram at six. That only leaves three middle order places and one of those is sewn up by the captain. With Astle another certainty then New Zealand's large stock of good middle order batsmen are left scrambling for the one remaining spot. You could say that all of Nicol (an unfashionable dour player I rate particularly highly), McMillan, Marshall, Ryder and Fulton were unlucky to miss out - but the fact is that they are all going to find it very hard to break into the team.

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