Posts Tagged ‘India’

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…

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Inconsistent Kiwi cricket selectors

March 5, 2009

Aaaargh! Can someone please explain to me how the NZ cricket selectors are consistent in picking their ODI squad? Wicketkeeper Brendon ‘mouth’ McCullum aggravated a thumb injury in the Napier ODI, so will likely bat only in tommorrow’s 2nd ODI between NZ and India at Wellington. His replacement is supposedly Peter McGlashan from Northern Districts (McCullum though, has a history of keeping and batting even if injured, so McGlashan may yet dip out).

The question arises because, in the just completed Chappell-Hadlee ODI series against Australia, NZ flew Gareth Hopkins over as cover for McCullum when he was injured then. So what has happened to make the selectors revise their views on the superiority of Hopkins over McGlashan? It’s not unavailability of either player due to domestic matches, as all 6 Kiwi provincial sides are playing on the same day as the 2nd ODI (surely a scheduling & marketing stuff up?)

I make no claim as to which keeper is better – Hopkins or McGlashan – just that there should be clear reasons for changing selections over such a short timeframe… Perhaps it is this from Glenn Turner:

“Peter McGlashan is a good improviser with the bat in the middle order, and also gives us cover for Brendon McCullum as wicketkeeper.”

But that comment was to justify swapping Hopkins for McGlashan when shifting mode from ODI’s to a Twenty20 match.

Oh, and wasn’t it nice to see the players straight back from injury/exile perform so well against India in the Napier ODI? No, you weren’t impressed by the ducks of Oram, Butler & Mills? You must have been distracted by the mere 190* of Jamie How in the first class NZ A match against the English A side. That’s the way to regain your place at the top level!!! (of more concern is James Franklin and Trent Boult not taking wickets – though the wicket may have been a tad flat).

Cricket ‘champions’ for beating 1 team?

August 24, 2008

Pakistan may find themselves playing just India over the ODI knock-out Champions Trophy, if other teams follow the lead of South Africa. The Africans have just announced they will not play in Pakistan, where the tournament was due to be hosted.

With International Cricket Council ceo Haroon Lorgat declaring it too late to swap venues, there is a real prospect of the Trophy descending beneath the level of farce the ICC managed when they finished last year’s World Cup in near-darkness.

Hopefully Pakistan will unbend their stiff backs and shift the venue to Sharjah, where successful tournaments have been held, and which offers the cheapest airfares for Pakistani’s to see the games. A large quota of seats for Pakistani fans would create the advantages of home matches as much as possible, and the bulk of the revenues could still go the Pakistan Cricket Board.

NZ Cricket should show some balls and also boycott the tournament unless shifted to a safe venue. NZ teams have twice (in Sri Lanka) and once (in Pakistan) been close to bomb attacks. Wouldn’t a venue shift be better than having a (good) possibility of cricketers limbs being blown off?

Update: The ICC have announced the Champions Trophy will be postponed – good! Better still, work to have an alternative venue ready in case – as is likely – Pakistan is still unsafe next year.

Making a monkey of the game

January 11, 2008

I’ve finally got over my shock (though not surprise) to comment on the drama in the Australia-India test series being played out over the ditch. To recap events from the 2nd test:

  1. Oz win test 2 using dubious umpiring decisions, claiming dubious catches, and generally pysching the Indians out, not least by charging Harbhajan Singh with racism for allegedly calling Andrew Symonds a ‘monkey’.
  2. BCCI (Indian cricket board) spit the dummy, suspend the tour, demand removal of West Indian umpire Steve Bucknor and that an appeal against Singh’s 3 match ban must find him innocent.
  3. ICC (international cricket board) boss Malcolm Speed drops Bucknor from the Perth test, appoints an appeal judge (literally – a Kiwi high court judge) and generally prostrates himself before the dollar signs. Then claims new-found courage … see how long that lasts!

To this punter, the ICC board must fire CEO Malcolm Speed immediately, censure the BCCI, and run a proper appeal for Singh. The BCCI have brought the game into disrepute (as has Ponting and team with their antics) by trying to blackmail an appeal outcome, and engineer the removal of a neutral umpire.

Far worse though, is the gutless, craven cowardly actions of Speed in giving in to the BCCI bullying. He has actually broken his own organisation’s rules (which prohibit countries demanding removal of neutral umpires), and exposed the ICC to legal action by Bucknor (similar to that of axed umpire Darryl Hair).

None of this is to say Bucknor (or Hair) should not have been axed – just that the ICC should have rapidly followed their employment agreement with the umpires to do a performance review, and sack if they failed to be up to scratch.

As for Ponting – don’t sack him, but Cricket Australia should make it clear to them they don’t want a repeat of silly and crude efforts to pressure opponents, and they expect a higher standard of honesty in claiming catches!

If the BCCI don’t like it, cancel the tour. They cannot be allowed to hold sway over all other cricket countries, even if the Oz team behave badly. 

A humorous montage and quotes are at Tumeke, while Cactus Kate offers an insight after the last NZ-Oz ODI:

The good news is that we avoided the follow on. The bad news is that it was a one day match.

But the best article about the whole messsy business is this Indian correspondent’s view. Suresh Menon correctly highlights the danger Speed has put the ICC in; cricket may truly suffer if this is not sorted carefully.