Posts Tagged ‘cricket’

Deja vu – Kiwi cricket coaching coups

October 22, 2009

Looks like we are set to repeat the farce of ‘senior players’ in the Black Caps mounting a coup against their coach. Rumblings alleging incumbent Andy Moles has failed to give tactical and technical advice is different to the alleged ‘inflexible people skills’ that led to the coup against 1995 coach (and current selector) Glenn Turner, but the methodology is the same. Grumbling players unable to accept their role in posting low scores with the bat seem hellbent on blaming anyone but themselves. Hopefully NZ Cricket will sort out whether Moles is competent, and if he is, sort out the attitude of the players complaining.

If true, it would explain why skipper Vettori was inducted onto the selection panel shortly after Moles took charge…

Update: I now feel prophetic, having said when Moles was hired that:

“I’m not so happy to see Black Caps captain Daniel Vettori has seen fit to offer his public ‘vote of confidence’ in the new coach, contrasting with outgoing coach Bracewell’s dignified silence.”

and you can see why, when Vettori offers such underwhelming endorsement of Moles when the coach’s position is under threat from ‘his’ players. Vettori said:

“I think we have to be,” Vettori said when asked if he would be happy for Moles to continue as coach. “There’s no point me making statements to the contrary.”

Perhaps Vettori should just have said ‘no comment’ or better still, ‘It’s not my place to comment publicly on my coach’. Hmmm, Dan?

P.S. If McCullum turns out to be one of the plotters, can we now have Matt Sinclair replace him? Sinclair just got Domestic Player of the Year. Again. McCullum’s last award was a 14 ball duck, leading his team to a loss.

Hide yer shame with yer Black Caps

September 19, 2009

I know it’s only a warm-up to a knockout tournament, but losing to the Warriors shows just how weak NZ are in cricket right now. Granted, Vettori took a rest (but had a capable sub in Jeetan Patel) as did Shane Bond, which is odd, given Bond “seemed tired” after just 7 overs according to Cricinfo ball-by-ball commentary in the last ODI he played against India in Sri Lanka. Surely Bond could have done with more warmup in African conditions, and learn to mesh with proven opening pace bowler (in SA) Darryl Tuffey (who took 3 wickets).
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All too predictable

September 9, 2009

Sadly, the Black Caps slumped to lose the first ODI against Sri Lanka at R Premadasa stadium last night. I was going to blog in the innings break that NZ were going to lose if they went at the run chase of 216 too cockily, but it all seemed too predictable that they would. And the Kiwis obliged. Sigh.
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Black Craps…literally

August 22, 2009

Sorry to lower the tone, but the rumbing bellies and the performance by NZ in Sri Lanka has been rather dismal.

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The good, the bad and the Black Caps…

December 1, 2008

And so ends another eminently forgettable test series against the neighbours, with results all too familiar to Kiwis. Not the farewell Bracewell would have wanted as coach, but a clear signal to new coach Andy Moles of the challenges he faces.

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Vettori endorses cricket slave trade?

March 27, 2008

NZ men’s cricket skipper Daniel Vettori seems to have lost his grip on reality a touch. In media remarks following NZ’s 2-1 test series loss to England, and the retirement of Kiwi batsman Stephen Fleming, Vettori has referred to players as “product”.

 Ross Taylor is apparently “a great product for a number of years for New Zealand cricket”, while new fast bowler Tim Southee is a “polished product” (which Vettori then contradicts later, claiming Southee is “unpolished”… maybe someone applied a bit of sandpaper to rough him up again?)

Following the disturbing meat market that was the Indian IPL cricket players auction (bidding for players to join IPL Twenty20 teams), it is disquieting that a senior NZ cricket player should talk of human beings as ‘product’. It follows former skipper Fleming’s talk of ‘entertaining’ the fans rather than ‘playing the game’, and reveals the gradual shift that business has had on sport. May it end soon…

It was nice that Vettori could talk of ‘polished’ NZ performances though 🙂

Square driving cricket selectors

February 8, 2008

Just so they can never complain that I didn’t furnish them with my humble views on how to convert the Skoda of cricket teams into a Ferrari (well, maybe an Alfa Romeo will do for a start), here are a few pointers on how to select the NZ cricket team:

  1. Pick team members by the position they play! One keeper is required, and bowling typically consists of 4 pace and 1 spin bowlers, leaving 5 specialist batsmen positions. NZ selectors too frequently deviate and pick the ‘best players in NZ’ at the time, meaning they have at times fielded a horribly unbalanced side with only 2 bowlers capable of topping 130km/hr. 
  2. At least 1, and preferably 2 or more, of the batsmen should be capable of bowling a few overs at international level, e.g. Chris Harris, Scott Styris, Craig MacMillan, Nathan Astle are all specialist batsmen who can bowl several useful overs and often take wickets. By contrast, Paul Hitchcock is a medium pacer who is neither batsman nor bowler – an allrounder.
  3. Set a process for players to follow to get selected, even if they are not aware of it. That is, resist the temptation to look for ‘the next Tendulkar’ or child prodigy – I’m talking to you, Sir Richard Hadlee! Age group players should progress from their club to provincial teams, to the A side, then NZ side. They have plenty of time to prove themselves over a few seasons at these levels, and still have a decade or more in the national squad.
  4. The above point requires NZ cricket and selectors to respect the A side, organise a better schedule of training and matches for it. The basic idea should be to pick a joint NZ-A side squad of 25, train together and play against each other regularly in training – perfect chance for comparisons of rival players for a position. Organise A side matches against other good A sides and as warm-ups for touring national sides. This all bloods the next replacement players (for retirement, injury, etc) without the current ‘sink or swim’ model (what was Daniel Flynn picked for 1 Twenty20 match for?@#$).
  5. Weight your selection criteria to allow for strength of competition the player is playing in. In other words, a provincial batsman with 20 average has an effective average of 30 if playing in a competition you rate as 1.5 times harder than the U-19 competition, say. This means you may pick a player with lower stats in a tough competition ahead of a ‘blazing new talent’ in a weak competition.

All this is a good start – the most important point being the first. At one point recently NZ had 3 keepers playing (McCullum, Vincent, Sinclair), meaning we were weak on back-up bowlers.

Point 2 is also vital – NZ is currently weak in back-up bowlers, so even though we have a good 5 bowler lineup, only Styris of the batsmen can bowl at international level. As even the best bowlers have off days (or overs), there is a need to select genuine batsmen who can also bowl (Ryder may now fill this role – though his short-cut selection may see his inexperience lead to typical Kiwi crumbling).

Incidentally, the point about all-rounder Hitchcock does not mean he is useless, or shouldn’t be picked. Just that all players need to be good enough to be picked at international level in 1 area (batsman, keeper or bowler), with skills in other areas being a bonus to be considered in selection. These extra skills are what lifts a good side to be great (the batting of Chris Cairns, bowling of Harris, batting of Dick Hadlee himself).

Final point – obey the law selectors! Do not discriminate against players based on their age!!! This kind of stupidity has seen the still-talented Harris, Fleming, Styris and MacMillan all leave one form of the game or more (Steve Waugh quit after similar whining in Oz that he was ‘too old’ while still scoring heavily). You’re too old when you body starts letting your performance slip, which is what should be focussed on, not the age.

So, a typical team at the moment might be:

  • Keeper – Brendan McCullum
  • Spinner – Dan Vettori (Jeetan Patel for injury at the moment)
  • Pace bowler – Jacob Oram
  • Pace bowler – Chris Martin
  • Pace bowler – Michael Mason
  • Pace bowler – Kyle Mills
  • Batsman – Lou Vincent
  • Batsman – Matthew Sinclair
  • Batsman – Scott Styris (also bowls)
  • Batsman – Jamie How
  • Batsman – Jesse Ryder (also bowls)

Note 3 keepers again – not hypocrisy – this can be done so long as they (Vincent & Sinclair) are genuine batsmen, and there enough batsmen able to bowl a few back-up overs.

McMouthing off

February 6, 2008

It seems Brendan ‘McMouth’ McCullum is a clairvoyant; he said “there is no substitute for getting out…” before last night’s Twenty20 cricket match, and he delivered – with a score of 9 personally, and a few captaincy blunders. Okay, that’s a little mean – his thoughts seemed reasonable, but implementation let him down.

Maligned debutant Jesse Ryder was the only top-order batsman to trouble the scorers to add a second digit to his tally, though he may not care to be reminded that his 22 came behind Jacob Oram’s bludgeoned 61 and … 23 for the extras!

The Kiwi statistics were:

Bowling: K Mills 4-0-43-2, C Martin 4-0-34-2, J Oram 4-0-24-1 (1w), J Patel 3-0-42-1, T Southee 4-0-39-1, J Ryder 1-0-2-1.

New Zealand
J Ryder run out 22
B McCullum c Shah b Sidebottom 9
R Taylor lbw b Sidebottom 0
J How c Pietersen b Mascarenhas 6
S Styris b Mascarenhas 1
P Fulton b Broad 8
J Oram c Bell b Sidebottom 61
K Mills c Anderson b Swann 11
T Southee c Mascarenhas b Collingwood 1
J Patel b Anderson 5
C Martin not out 5
Extras (6w, 17lb) 23

Total (19.2 overs) 152

Fall: 18, 19, 47, 49, 64, 70, 90, 102, 135, 152.

So what lessons can NZ take from this defeat? Perhaps to drop Sir Richard Hadlee from the selectors panel. Hadlee was a clear proponent of pushing young players into the side, and he and coach Bracewell appear to have driven senior players (McMillan, Harris and Astle for a start, and now Styris from tests) out of NZ, and into lucrative ICL hands.

Even former Kiwi wicketkeeper and perennial bad boy Adam Parore has spotted there is something irrational in the latest selections (see ‘maligned’ link above). Even sharper insight is given by recent Black Caps opening batsman Mark Richardson. The verdict – picking young or unfit players and dumping them straight in the national side is dangerous, for both player and team. Let them prove themselves in the provincial competition!

Gloveman Gilchrist goes

January 27, 2008

And so Australian wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist leaves the game (cricket, for those unfamiliar) he has graced for the last decade and more, with a flair few matched behind the stumps or with bat. He will be missed – especially by Ricky Ponting 😉

Chappell-Hadlee Cricket series – match 2

December 16, 2007

Aaaargh! Instead of a friendly greeting to start with, the first post is to draw (shamefaced) attention to the annual NZ-Australia ODI cricket series.

Only problem is – NZ are getting tanked, again. Thank goodness we control the weather gods, and have dropped a bit of the wet stuff to delay Kiwi wickets tumbling! 

Take a look at Cricinfo’s live updates, for the grim news:
Cricinfo Livescore

Predictably, Matthew Sinclair was dropped in favour of Gareth Hopkins, but Lou Vincent will have to buy the coach drinks a lot to keep his place for the next match, given he has just made another single digit score.

Kiwi wicketkeeper McCullum has embarrased himself with just 5 runs after claiming Ozzie quick bowler Tait did not have the figures to back up Tait’s claim the Kiwis couldn’t handle his pace… oh, dear. McCullum didn’t even last until Tait came on to bowl.

Update: Ah, the blessed sound of rain. Match abandoned, after a dire start from NZ. Good intentions from Vettori (set a score) but batsmen looked unable to fulfil that. The ironic thing is; another rainout at the final match in Hobart will mean NZ retain the Chappell-Hadlee trophy 😉