Sunday, 21 January 2007

Strange theories

The Sunday-Star Times headline is "Bracewell faces rebellion" and the sub-heading reads "A number of Black Caps are anxious and unhappy about coach John Bracewell's controversial rest-and-rotation policy and have taken their concerns to New Zealand Cricket Players' Association chief executive Heath Mills." However the article itself quotes Mills as stating "...the vast majority [of players] seem to be quite relaxed about it. I have to be clear in saying the players have not come to me as a whole and said they were unhappy." Hmmm. Sounds like a bit of a beat up to me then.

While the article is not quite what it makes itself out to be, it is enlightening in one sense. It tells us that the mastermind of the rotation policy is high performance manager Ric Charlesworth who "believes one of the most important changes needed in New Zealand cricket is 'cultural'". Charlesworth apparently believes that keeping players nervous and on edge is good for them.

I did a paper on management theory once. They taught us pretty much the same thing about managing people in the workforce. Keep them worried that their job isn't secure and they will be better workers. Didn't strike me as a good way to build team spirit to me then, and it still doesn't seem like a good idea now.

Elsewhere in the same paper Michael Donaldson invents his own rating system for ODI batsmen. He uses this new system to prove that New Zealand doesn't have the batsmen to win matches. Personally I didn't think we needed some new stats to prove that.

The final odd piece of cricket theory in the Sunday-Star Times is a piece by Denis Edwards. This one isn't available online, but in essence Denis' theory is that New Zealand crowds are too nice and that means our players don't try hard enough. He claims that the Australian dominance is because their infernal crowds forge iron hard characters. Hum.

I have a final theory for you. I am feeling faintly hung-over, vaguely annoyed at the newspaper and a little bit pessimistic. So my theory is that New Zealand won't start improving until it hits rock bottom. And, given we are about to play Australia in Sydney with Michael Mason replacing Shane Bond in the starting line-up, rock bottom might well happen today.


Karel said...

The solutions to our problems are pretty simple really. Alas, they wont occur until after the World Cup so you can imagine, im not holding my breathe for a NZ win. Firstly, all the best ODI teams worldwide work on policy of consistancy. I remember the Aussies trying out a 'rotation' policy a few years back and it didnt work (and was roundly critisized) Hell, if it doesnt work for them with their depth, why would it work for us?! Secondly, Bracewell needs to go (and wont, yet). Under Rixon and Trist there seemed to be a vibrant team culture, one which won us many games purely by the team playing as a whole (ie: no standout performances, just everyone giving their all to the cause) and under Bracewell this seems to have vanished.
Lastly, Parore is bang on with his assesment of some current players. I dont deny the ability of Oram or Styris but we cant (and should never) rely on them as top class batsman. Their role is more to eek out runs or hit big at innings end. Our problems mostly lie in our top 5. Top 5 will more often than not determine a games outcome (excluding the odd stellar performance from the tail) and ours isnt good enough. Fading stars alright.

In an ideal world (and had Bracewell blooded a few youngsters MONTHS ago - and assuming they had been successful) our lineup may have read (discounting injuries):


I only see a new for 3 specialist bowlers (the last 3 - who can all bat a little)in the OD game. We can fill out a few overs with Astle and Macca as we've done in the past. Anyway, just my thoughts.

parker said...

This is probably the team Bracewell would have right now, bar Ryder, if it weren’t for injuries. Good to see McCullum back down the order today.

Franklin OUT to McGrath as I write this. I was just beginning to feel optimistic. Well at least they crossed. Stay on strike McMillan!

Anonymous said...

I fail to see how a rotation policy keeps batsmen on their toes. Under a rotation system, you would expect to be dropped at any time - whether you perform well or not.