Thursday, 30 August 2007

Ben on...the ICL

I've been wanting to post about the Indian Cricket League since it was first announced. At the time I thought the idea of a rival cricket tournament was quite exciting. The ICC were in the process of grossly mismanaging the World Cup and the BCCI had been turning into the bully of the world cricket playground. Even if the whole purpose behind the ICL was to simply make money for a media kingpin disappointed at missing out on TV rights, I was happy to see the possibility that these two arrogant, venal organisations might get black eyes.

However, every time I started to make a post, the fortunes of the ICL would plummet, making my post irrelevant. But every time it seemed like they were sunk, they would sign some important player or overcome some hurdle or there would be some other twist, and suddenly the ICL would have new life. When Lalu Prasad Yadav gets involved in an issue in India, it has officially become a farce.

The story in New Zealand has also run something of a roller coaster, with Fleming being approached, Chris Harris signing then not signing, retired cricketers being possible signings, fears that the ICL will strip New Zealand of its talent, rumours of Shane Bond being offered $600,000 and then NZC being set to support the ICL. Now today, NZC has made their position clear, with a statement that they will not support the ICL. (There are also a suggestion that any contracted players will be hit with breach of contract suits if they join the ICL.)

This statement clears things up considerably. Not completely however, as we still don't know the intentions of the contracted players that might have been approached. (And there are hints that Fleming at least is seriously considering it. The article I linked to above about the breach of contract suits suggests that some officials want Fleming punished for not committing to NZ cricket.) It would be a great shame if any contracted Black Caps joined the ICL. I like Richard Boock's suggestion: if they want to play in a "tinpot Twenty20 circus alongside other has-beens and wanna-bes", then let him go. Surely the negative reaction they'd get from their New Zealand fans and the complete downer of finishing their career in a shoddy sideshow of a tournament would be punishment enough.

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Ben on...Twenty20 squad announced

The 15-man squad to contest the Twenty20 Championship has been announced, chosen from the preliminary 30-man list. Or rather, 15 guys were crossed off. Here is the squad below, also showing the guys who were left out.

Andre Adams
Shane Bond
Neil Broom
Grant Elliott
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
Peter McGlashan
Craig McMillan
James McMillan
Warren McSkimming
Iain O'Brien
Jacob Oram
Jeetan Patel
Aaron Redmond
Bradley Scott
Scott Styris
Ross Taylor
Daniel Vettori (captain)
Lou Vincent

The notable (but not too surprising) omissions are Fleming and Franklin.

The newcomers are Gareth Hopkins, Nathan McCullum and Bradley Scott. Hopkins has in fact represented NZ in 5 ODIs as a wicketkeeper – he didn't actually face any balls the one time he did get to the crease, though he has taken 8 catches. He looks to be very good cover for Brendon McCullum behind the wickets and should do okay if given a chance to bat. Brendon's brother, Nathan McCullum, impressed with some strong hitting in the recent Emerging Player's Tournament in Australia. Bradley Scott is an Otago all-rounder who will fill Franklin's place.

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Ben on...jelly beans and things

I don't understand the jelly beans either D; it's all just a bit too English. Dylan Cleaver seems to have got the joke though. He has put together a list of 'meaningful' items that could be thrown on the pitch.