Posts Tagged ‘Daniel Vettori’

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.

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 Cap 2nd test tweaks

March 22, 2009

Former Black Caps wicket-keeper Adam Parore reckons NZ need to finesse their middle order batting lineup to have a chance in the 2 remaining tests, now India have won the first test. Ryder at 5 and McCullum at 6 is Parore’s solution to the problem he correctly identifies as ‘dodging the new ball but having time to make centuries’.

However, having your best batsmen ‘dodge the new ball’ only works if you don’t start with 3 inexperienced batsmen, as NZ just did to their chagrin. Better to bracket new and experienced batsmen so the departing batter gets replaced by a similar one. The experienced players are Ryder, McCullum and Taylor; the newbies McIntosh, Guptill and Flynn (kind-of).

For example, open with Ryder and McIntosh, and bracket McCullum & Guptill at 3/4, and Taylor & Flynn at 5/6. So – if McIntosh is out, bring in Guptill, but if Ryder drops, bring in McCullum; Taylor replaces McCullum, while Flynn comes in after Guptill falls. That way, you always have a harder hitting older batsman paired with a newbie, to stabilise things, and (hopefully) avoid a rapid rout of the top order, nullifying Parore’s effect of putting the best batsmen in the middle order to ‘protect them’ from the new ball.

That said, the case is stronger than ever for ‘Skippy’ Sinclair to get a bat in the last 2 tests. And I remain unconvinced about James Franklin’s conversion from fast-medium left-arm pace bowler to batting allrounder with medium-fast bowling. He has not shone.

But if poor bowling prizes are given out, surely all three spots on the podium would go to Kyle Mills? He has truly lived up to his test ranking of 41st in the world. Good against teams like Bangladesh & West Indies, Mills is exposed every time against good sides like Australia (Chappell-Hadlee series) and India. Swap him for a genuine quick bowler, like Wellington’s Mark Gillespie, who has been given treatment little better than Sinclair by the selectors.

So, my lineup for the last 2 tests?

  • Opening pair – Jesse Ryder & Martin Guptill
  • first drop – Brendon McCullum & Matthew Sinclair
  • 2nd drop – Ross Taylor & Daniel Flynn
  • allrounder – drop Franklin for the evergreen Chris Harris! 🙂 (I know, the ICL farce). Okay, chuck Tim McIntosh in to open with Ryder, and drop Guptill, Sinclair and Flynn 1 bracket down each.
  • bowlers – Dan Vettori, Mark Gillespie (instead of Mills), Iain O’Brien and Chris Martin.

That gives 4 pace bowlers (Martin, O’Brien, Gillespie and Ryder), spinner Vettori, and I reckon if Harry could be picked, he would do quite well on these flat wickets – it’s all about guile. All while retaining 6 genuine specialist batsmen.

But we’ll see…

Crumpled Black Caps

February 16, 2009

Vettori is right to be peeved – his team performed poorly chasing down 150 in last night’s T20 Sydney match. But there was always doubt about Elliot’s ability to accelerate above ODI scoring pace of 6 an over, so if they wanted to win perhaps they should have kept Ross Taylor (maybe with a runner for his hamstring twinge).

The Chappell-Hadlee series draw reflects the balanced teams – Oz has slumped and NZ risen to a similar level, though those pesky Ozzies are already bouncing back up the skill ladder. So are NZ, but we are still hamstrung by bizzarre selections like repeat failures Peter Fulton and Craig Cumming. Hopefully the selectors have now got the message… though it appears not, with the feeble Ian Butler reselected for the T20 match. Sigh.

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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Fourth times a charm for NZ Cricket

November 26, 2008

And so yet another confident contender embraces the role of incumbent Black Caps coach. Congratulations to new NZ mens cricket coach Andy Moles, who will hopefully bring his Warwickshire batting experience to bear profitably on the all too fragile Kiwi batsmen.

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Kiwi Bangla bunglers

October 26, 2008

Not much on cricket lately, so as we in the southern hemisphere dust off bats & balls, I thought I’ld point out that the plucky fellows of Bangladesh almost toppled NZ in the first cricket test!

For those familiar with the long struggle Bangladesh have had getting up to test status, this is stunning, and good news for global cricket. Granted, NZ are ranked 7th of the 8 major test teams, and have lost several core team members to retirement or the ICL or IPL recently, but so too have Bangladesh lost players to the ICL.

On home wickets, Bangladesh had good spinners (as usual), but also put up a reasonable pace attack and batted to a respectable score. Leaving 317 for NZ to get in the 2nd innings should have seen a hometown win, but Dan Vettori stepped up with the only fine performance throughout the test from NZ; 9 wickets bowling and 2 half-centuries batting.

Sadly, the second (and final) test has already lost 2 days to rain, so may not get a result… Hopefully, Bangladesh will take heart from this (and an ODI win) for the future, and we can only hope NZ selectors will learn their lesson (seems not – they picked all-rounder Grant Elliot to replace injured Jacob Oram, instead of picking a decent quick bowler to replace the woeful Kyle Mills).

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 🙂

A fitting end for Fleming

March 26, 2008

“Ruing this series” was Stephen Fleming’s comment after his last test innings for NZ saw him post 66. The former NZ captain retires from test cricket after a delayed fit of pique at his sacking as captain, to allow the long-groomed Daniel Vettori to take over.

While several NZ commentators rue Fleming leaving NZ while clearly still one of the better batsmen available, it was ironic that the last innings should see Fleming fall on a trademark score of 66 to spin bowler Monty Panesar; many of Fleming’s innings have ended in the mid-twenties or mid-sixties when he loses concentration after ‘getting set’ or ‘posting his half century’. This accounts for just 8% of his innings tallying to 90 or more.

However, there is no doubt NZ’s selectors will not enjoy trying to find a decent replacement. With his average just getting over the 40 threshold (by 13 runs!), Fleming will be a loss in the batting lineup, particularly overseas where he averages nearly 46.

However, this high offshore average compared to the 33.87 average Fleming had on NZ pitches, hints at the nature of his scores. Beating up perennial losers Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka when they were relative newcomers to test cricket account for his highest scores, and are the only nations against which he averages 50 or more. It was notable that the 2 teams he had lowest average (of 25 and 32) and strike rate (of 40.81 and 40.73) against were world champion side Australia and star studded India. He will also be irked at being the sole test batsmen to get over 7000 runs but not post 10 test centuries…

Despite this, Stephen Fleming brought a solid contribution with the bat on a regular basis. If this sounds like faint praise, it is not. Recall Mark Richardson was lauded for just such a contribution, despite a strike rate worse (37.66) than Fleming’s rate of 45.82. More telling, Fleming’s last season has seen him average nearly 50, which he only topped in 1998, 2004 and 2005/06 (and 2003 where he posted his top score of 274* on tour against Sri Lanka). So he appeared to have plenty of runs in the tank.

One wonders if selector Sir Richard Hadlee quit because of the troubles he foresaw in trying to replace the vast number of players who have quit NZ cricket?

It did irritate to hear Fleming lauded for his weaknesses though. Making a virtue of necessity, Fleming’s sloth-like speed in the field was transformed to a soft pair of hands in the slips (where he was good off quick bowlers). Add to this his reputed ‘great’ captaincy skills (his record does not back this claim, with 28 wins from 80 captained he won just 35% – by contrast, the truly great Australian skipper Steve Waugh won in 51% of his tests)).

 Either way, NZ can survive ‘post-Flem’ if there is no panicked rush of under-19 players into the national team… (think Daniel Flynn, Tim Southee, and the slightly older Jesse Ryder if he can heal, and leave the nurses alone!)