Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Ben on...two more years of Braces

So New Zealand Cricket have announced that John Bracewell's contract is to be extended for another two years. This was pretty much to be expected.

Other interesting news in the announcement are
It is hard to muster up much of an opinion on Bracewell's reappointment in the middle of the off season. It is fair to say that Bracewell had some good success during his time; however, the team has not shaken its top order brittleness nor the tendency to choke in critical games.

The other changes are very interesting however.

It is very good to hear that John Wright will be involved with the team. He was a very good coach of India and many of the Indian players flourished under him (many of whom are now struggling).

It is particularly good news that we have good specialist bowling and batting coaches. It always seems that we perform well as a team while the players generally fail to excel personally. If we could combine our impressive team performances with some strong individual performances, we must be much more successful.

I am also pleased with the fact that Bracewell's powers will be slightly curtailed. While it may be the case that he has never used his selection veto, right from the beginning I had the sense that he was being made out to be bigger than the team. I recall when he was first appointed that it was thought that his veto over selections might interfere with the dynamic Fleming had with the team.

Monday, 16 July 2007

Ben on...emerging players in action

The currently running Emerging Players' Tournament is giving us a look at some of NZ's new talent. All of the uncapped players in the Twenty20 Championship squad are playing, as well as a couple of other youngsters not in the squad, Hamish Bennett and Rob Nicol.

New Zealand should hope to do well in this tournament, which consists of Twenty20 and limited over rubbers. We seem to have sent what amounts to an A side, while the other teams include an Australian Centre of Excellence squad, an Indian state side (Karnataka) and the South African emerging players.

The tournament started yesterday, with a win for NZ over the South Africans in the Twenty20 rubber.

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Ben on...Twenty20 squad

The preliminary 30-man squad has been named for the Twenty20 Championships. The list is long enough that pretty much all the current regular internationals not effected by injury make the list. Missing due to injury are Kyle Mills and Daryl Tuffey. Michael Papps and Matthew Sinclair were also not selected, presumably not being seen as Twenty20 material. And there is still room in the list for a few non-regulars, Chris Harris and some new faces. In the following list, those in red have no top-level international experience. With the World Cup having just concluded, a new team has to be built for South Asia 2011. With luck, we may see some potential members of that team given a chance here.

Andre Adams
Shane Bond
Neil Broom (Otago)
Grant Elliott (Wellington)
Stephen Fleming
James Franklin
Peter Fulton
Mark Gillespie
Chris Harris
Paul Hitchcock
Gareth Hopkins
Jamie How
James Marshall
Chris Martin
Michael Mason
Brendon McCullum
Nathan McCullum (Otago)
Peter McGlashan
Craig McMillan
James McMillan (Otago)
Warren McSkimming (Otago)
Iain O'Brien
Jacob Oram
Jeetan Patel
Aaron Redmond (Otago)
Bradley Scott (Otago)
Scott Styris
Ross Taylor
Daniel Vettori
Lou Vincent

Sunday, 8 July 2007

Ben on...NZ for WSC 08/09?

According to this article in The Australian, NZ and South Africa are pencilled in to play in Australia in 2008/9. Awesome. Unfortunately, the gist of the article is that the three teams might not compete in a tri-series because the international programme is just too crowded. The first real evidence that the 28-year old tournament is in jeopardy. This follows on from suggestions during the last series that the event may have had its day (something about 1/3 of the tournament featuring teams that aren't Australia being something of a problem).

It would be a real shame if the Australian tri-series weren't to happen. It really is a fantastic tournament. The victories and close losses in the World Series Cup are some of my best memories of cricket (and here are some of Mike's memories). It just the best ODI tournament out there – except maybe for the Chappell–Hadlee, but certainly better than the World Cup. Long may it continue.

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Ben on...the record finally broken?

I was briefly excited seeing the headline for the Cricinfo bulletin for the current match between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh – "Bangladesh bowled out for lowest Test score". Could it be that our lowest innings total record of 26 has finally been broken after over 50 years? No. It was only Bangladesh's lowest innings total – a mammoth 62, which doesn't even make it into the bottom 40 innings totals.

Ben on...the coming season

NZ Cricket have released the schedule for the home series against Bangladesh and England, so it looks now like we have a mostly complete schedule for the next year or so:

  Twenty20 World Championship South Africa
12, Kingsmead Twenty20 vs Kenya
15, New Wanderers Twenty20 vs Sri Lanka
(the rest of the series TBA)
  NZ in South Africa
25–28, Goodyear Park vs South Africa A
    1–4, Sedgars Park vs South Africa A
8–12, New Wanderers 1st test vs South Africa
16–20, SuperSport Park 2nd test vs South Africa
23, New Wanderers Twenty20 vs South Africa
25, Kingsmead 1st ODI vs South Africa
30, St George's Park 2nd ODI vs South Africa
    2, Newlands 3rd ODI vs South Africa

Chappell–Hadlee Trophy in Australia

11, W.A.C.A. Twenty20 vs Australia
14, Adelaide Oval 1st ODI vs Australia
16, Sydney Cricket Ground 2nd ODI vs Australia
20, Bellerive Oval 3rd ODI vs Australia

Bangladesh in New Zealand
19-22, Seddon Park Northern Knights vs Bangladesh
23, Seddon Park Northern Knights vs Bangladesh
26, Eden Park 1st ODI vs Bangladesh
28, McLean Park 2nd ODI vs Bangladesh
31, Queenstown Events Centre 3rd ODI vs Bangladesh
January 2008
    4–8, University Oval 1st test vs Bangladesh
12–16, Basin Reserve 2nd test vs Bangladesh
February 2008
  England in New Zealand
2, QEII Park Canterbury Wizards vs England
3, QEII Park Canterbury Wizards vs England
5, Jade Stadium Twenty20 vs England
7, Eden Park Twenty20 vs England
9, Westpac Stadium 1st ODI vs England
12, Seddon Park 2nd ODI vs England
15, Eden Park 3rd ODI vs England
20, McLean Park 4th ODI vs England
23, Jade Stadium 5th ODI vs England
25–26, University Oval Otago Volts vs England
28–1, University Oval Otago Volts vs England
March 2008
    5–9, Seddon Park 1st test vs England
13–17, Basin Reserve 2nd test vs England
22–26, McLean Park 3rd test vs England
May 2008
  New Zealand in England
15–19, Lord's 1st test vs England
23–27, Old Trafford 2nd test vs England
June 2008
    5–9, Trent Bridge 3rd test vs England
13, Old Trafford Twenty20 vs England
15, Riverside Ground 1st ODI vs England
18, Edgbaston 2nd ODI vs England
21, County Ground 3rd ODI vs England
25, Kennington Oval 4th ODI vs England
28, Lord's 5th ODI vs England