Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Ben on...allegiances

The latest scandal to come out of the ICC, the suspension of Malcolm Speed, is the last straw for me. It's not that I like Speed or that sacking your CEO is so beyond the pale. What makes his sacking so appalling is that the reason behind it is that Speed wanted to do the right thing about the fact that members of Zimbabwe Cricket were embezzling ICC money. So, put very roughly, Speed was sacked because the ICC wants to continue to allow Zimbabwe Cricket to steal their money. That's an unacceptable level of flagrant corruption in my opinion.

As I have no respect left for the ICC, I cannot consider it to represent the game that I love. Luckily however, with the game now being fragmented, there are other options. I am now going to consider any ICC sanctioned cricket to be on a par with the ICL, the Stanford West Indies extravaganza and the L&P Back Yard Cricket Tourney. I'm still going to follow and support the Black Caps, but while NZC is affiliated to the ICC, I cannot consider any Black Caps games to be official.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Karl on ... why NZCricket should ignore the BCCI who never give them anything anyway

Last week, Hampshire vs. Sussex, match drawn, Sussex bat once and Shane Bond takes 7 for 66 off 19.1 overs for Hampshire.

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Ben on...babies in beige

For those of you growing the next generation of fans, you should know that Peapods nappies come in regulation beige.

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Ben on...IPL as good as over

Indian Premier League - 1st match
Bangalore Royal Challengers v Kolkata Knight Riders

                    R   B  4  6  SR
BB McCullum not out 158 73 10 13 216.43

Nothing that follows in this tournament can hold any interest after this innings. Well, maybe a double hundred.

Friday, 18 April 2008

Ben on...too hot, too cool

Excited about the start of the IPL later today? Hanging out for more T20 after the following the extensive coverage of the ICL? Better hurry up and choose a team to support.

No? Having trouble plugging into the hype? Then check out the Kolkata Knight Riders' team anthem or maybe some of their wacky promotional clips for some stimulation.

Monday, 14 April 2008

Ben on...contracted players announced; ins and outs

Karl will be livid, but Ryder has won an NZC contract while Bell and Sinclair have been dropped from the list. This is no surprise after they failed to get selected for the tour to England; everyone on the contract list is in the touring party except James Franklin, who would be touring if he wasn't injured. This needn't be the case, as you could imagine a situation where a player not actually picked to play, for bad form say, is given a contract recognising that they are considered long term prospects. I'm sure this was why Sinclair was contracted for so many years but rarely picked. In fact, I think it is remarkable that NZC considers players such as Aaron Redmond worthy of contracts even though they are completely untested at test level. Says volumes about our depth at the moment.

Anyway. There is much to say about each of the contracted players, but Sportsfreak shows that it is possible to say a lot with very few words.

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Ben on...revisit the test series, now with ultraviolence

The Atheist has compiled his viddy-blogs of the recent test series:


Relive them quickly before the lawyers track them down again.

Friday, 11 April 2008

Ben on...The Phoenix Foundation

I'm loving The Phoenix Foundation's third album Happy Ending at the moment. Bright Grey is one of their best songs ever. Bleaching Sun is awesome too:

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Ben on...clashing clashes

Great. The IPL will clash with a New Zealand series again next year. The schedule has been announced and will run from 10 April to 29 May. However, we have an international series scheduled for February to April.

It is no surprise that the BCCI is willing to schedule the IPL to clash with New Zealand fixtures. The big surprise though is that the other team in that series, who will also have to deal with the clash, is India.

Good news for Jesse

He has at least one big fan, "Spin" author Lawrence Booth - who includes his presence as one of his sources of optimism for the new English season:

If Jesse Ryder really is ready to resume his opening partnership with Brendon McCullum in time for the ODIs in England in June, then a few bowlers might look back fondly to the glory days when Matthew Bell and Jamie How patted back half-volleys and edged repeatedly to slip. Ryder could yet turn into a superstar, and no England bowler's education will be complete without a mauling at his hands. It will also edge the one-day series closer to the box office.

Saturday, 5 April 2008

Ben on...squad for England tour

The touring squad has been announced.

From the four youngsters I named in my previous post, Flynn and Hopkins have been added. Flynn at the expense of Sinclair. Bell also misses out, his place is taken by James Marshall (who hasn't impressed with his earlier test appearances but has had a strong State Championship season). The bolter, who didn't appear in my list but was spotted by Paul Holden (prescience or inside tip?), is Aaron Redmond. Fulton and O'Brien are back for the tests and Ryder is back for the ODIs. Elliott has been given another go in the warm-ups while Oram is away and Gillespie and Mason have been given the warm-ups to play for a place in the test team.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Ben on...generation next month

So we're off to England in a months time for the away leg of the six-match series. Unlike other six-match series we've played in, we have a short break in proceedings during which we can take stock and re-jig our team.

The three tests showed that we have some glaring holes, namely an opener to partner How and a middle order batsman. So who might we see in the touring squad?

Several pundits have tried to pick possible fillers for the gaps in the batting line up 1 2 3 4. I thought I might take a look at some of the suggestions.

Greg Hay
Hay's name seems to be everyone's lips at the moment and he is clearly in the minds of the selectors. If you haven't heard of him, don't worry – I don't follow domestic cricket either. Also, he has only been playing for a couple of years. Hay plays for Central Districts and has scored over a thousand runs over two seasons at an average of just under 50 (State Championship). Most significantly, he has kept his average up over both seasons. In fact, this season was better than the last. He has also improved his conversion rate. Even if he doesn't get selected, he is clearly a batsman to pay attention to.

Daniel Flynn
We've actually seen a bit of Daniel Flynn before. He played in the Christchurch T20 and ODI, scoring 1 run from 5 balls over both matches. It would be unfair to judge him on those performances however. He has had an excellent season for Northern Districts, scoring 663 State Championship runs at over 60, including 3 centuries (none of them very big however). Quite a bit has been expected of Flynn. He burst onto the scene at the under-19 level. He has taken a few years to really show his promise, but he is clearly a player for the future.

Gareth Hopkins
Gareth Hopkins has become a bit of a feature in the New Zealand squad as a backup wicket-keeper. We are very likely to see him tour England again, though I doubt he will get any tests. Being backup for a player that hardly misses a match means a lot of waiting around. There is however always the possibility that he could play the ODIs, either as a middle-order batsman or as keeper-batsman with McCullum playing as a specialist batsman. He is certainly good enough with the bat, at domestic level at least.

Tim McIntosh
There has been quite a bit of excitement about Tim McIntosh after his big double century against Canterbury. However, given that that one innings makes up nearly half of his total State Championship runs for the season, you have to wonder how much people are being charmed by a single innings. Especially considering he followed it with scores of 2 and 9 in his next two innings. Or perhaps it just shows how desperate we are for openers. In McIntosh's favour, he is left handed and he does score big centuries – he has scored two centuries in the last two seasons and they have both been doubles.

Martin Guptill
I know nothing about Guptill nor why he is being discussed. He has a poor first-class average and a good list-A average. He does open, so I guess he is just another example of our desperation.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Fleming speaks

The tears have barely dried from his farewell, but Stephen Fleming is already starting to disassociate himself from the cricket establishment. TVNZ is reporting comments he made that some of the New Zealand coaching staff (but not John Bracewell) need to go, and that our team is in for a hard couple of years (as if we didn't know that already).

Shoaib banned

Wasn't Shoaib Akhtar banned already? Well, just to make sure he really doesn't come back the Pakistan Board of Control has slapped a five year ban for talking out of line on top of his two year ban for taking performance enhancing drugs. Osman Samiuddin, in his typically colourful and informative style, outlines the details of Shoaib's latest soap opera for Cricinfo here.