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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Say their names with reverance and pride 

With McIntosh providing a solid start to the New Zealand innings yesterday, it's time Chuck Z and I begin to release our Black Caps' test openers analysis on a breathless nation.

In the last 15 seasons, New Zealand test innings have been opened by no fewer than 26 players. Two players (Astle & McCullum), appeared just once each, opening only in the second NZ innings, presumably filling in for injured "real" openers. Interestingly, the former scored 40, and the latter 19*, clearly marking themselves out as real opening material.

There's some unlikely names among the remaining 24:

Mark Greatbatch (a #5 slogger at best I would have thought - he averaged 8.50 in the 93/94 season).

Blair Hartland (averaged 11.00 in his three tests at opener)

Darrin Murray (opened alongside Bryan Young in all 8 tests in the 94-95 season, averaged 20.20, concluded his illustrious test opening career with a 0 and a 0*)

Roger Twose (the tubby one's ODI form didn't translate to an illustrious test opening career in 95/96 or 98/99. He did score a 94 in his first season, and averaged 22.67, which Jamie How would die for about now, but ended his opening career with a pair three years later).

Craig Spearman (enough said - twice the chances of Matthew Sinclair and quarter of the talent)

Justin Vaughan (a poor man's Gavin Larsen, the good Doctor averaged 13.25 in his two tests as opener in 96/97, but in fairness it was in Pakistan. Remember when teams used to tour Pakistan?)

Gary Frickin Stead (the Canterbury grafter averaged an impressive 30 in his 5 innings as New Zealand test opener in 99/00 - demonstrating that mental discipline can perhaps go a long way)

Adam Parore (D-list local celebrity, current star in the IPL retirement home, and sometime mortgage broker, Parore was briefly the world's best wicketkeeper. He filled in as opener 3 times over the 00/01 and 01/02 seasons, with a high score of 36).

Matthew Sinclair (Skippy was a stand-in second-innings opener a couple of times, before having three tests as opener in 04/05. After showing much promise, his last three innings yielded returns of 0, 0 and 2).

Lou Vincent ("the jaw" was a player who, like several others - Sinclair, Marshall the Greater - got generally worse the longer he was exposed to NZ Cricket management and coaching. Opened his opening career with a century and a half-century against Australia in Australia, then pretty much turned to crap - yet managed big scores on tour as an opener against India and Zimbabwe. Appears to have ended his opening career with a 4 in 07/08)

Stephen Fleming (the lamented former captain opened 6 times in his test career, and scored one half-century in that position).

Marshall the Lesser (opened in three tests at the end of the 04/05 season, averaging a handy 30.20).

Marshall the Greater (clearly selected on the basis of his brother's world-beating performance at the end of the previous season, H. Marshall opened in five tests in 05/06. Despite two knocks against Zimbabwe, he only managed to average 12)

Peter Fulton (the walking wicket opened in two tests against South Africa in 05/06, and proved no more effective there than at any other position in the test team - averaging 16.25).

Michael Papps (in and out as test opener since 03/04, starting with a promising 59, then a bunch of ducks, then an 86. Averaged 4 in his two tests in the 07/08 season. Concluded with a 1 which about sums it all up).

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

First Class Centuries by current NZ players 

Upon reading that the walking wicket, 2MP, had been brought in as cover for Ross "the Samoan" Taylor, I decided to investigate how many 1st class centuries the former had, and who else is around the traps that might be a better prospect, measured solely in terms of first-class centuries. Realizing this favours older players, here goes:

Mathew Sinclair = 26
Matthew Bell = 23
Michael Parlane = 14
RA Jones = 13
Marshall the Lesser = 10
Sachin Tendulkar = 67
Piggy Styris = 9
Poor Injured Jake = 8
Neal Parlane = 8
Ross the Samoan = 7
2MP = 7
James Franklin = 5

One of those players is not currently available for New Zealand unfortunately.

But may I be the first to say, "Bring back Skippy!"

Also, for god's sake, Bell for How, who is averaging 14 in tests so far this season (compared to 35 for the unfortunate Redmond).

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Exercise in futility 

As one looks ahead to the next 10 months of their life the opportunities are nearly limitless - you could, for example, move to Peru and learn the panflute, take a holiday to Mozambique, or just sit at home and sink piss.

Or, you could spend the 10 months rowing nearly 18,000 kilometres alone across the a bid to be the first man to do so, only to fail in completing your journey by an agonizingly short distance:

An Italian adventurer who set off from Peru on February 21 this year has fallen just short in his attempt to become the first person to row single-handed across the Pacific.
Alex Bellini, was aiming to row from Lima to Sydney, but yesterday had to call for help 65 nautical miles from the mid north NSW coastal town of Laurieton because of exhaustion.

Factor into account the expense, the untold hours of training pre attempt, and the inevitable mental strain of having to put up with yourself for 10 months and what does he have to show at the end of it?


Not even the runner's up thanks-for-trying world cup medal the Aussie Rugby League team so richly deserved.

Still, each to their own.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Another reason to reject democratic consumer-driven society. 

I’m just back from Havana. And in my absence from the North, apparently the whole of fucking North America has fallen apart. I mean seriously. People being trampled to death at Wal-Mart in New York?

And in Canada, Canadian parliament closes because Stephen Harper wanted to dodge a confidence vote? I’m pretty sure that society is on the edge of collapse here. I mean I missed most of the details as to why the House of Commons closed its doors, but all I know is that the English civil war broke out over a suspension of parliament, and Harper’s move would be make Robert Mugabe proud.

The Cubans told me, “see, here we don’t worry. Our Government is stable.”

Things are good in Cuba these days. Health and education are both spot on as ever. The hurricanes did a devastating pounding to the island, but recovery is happening, and soon the organic veggies will be back at the market ready to sell to residents of Havana. (The government put a halt to bringing rural produce into Havana for sale in order to ensure that foodstuffs weren’t compromised in rural areas). Until then Habaneros will have to dine on more costly imports or go without green peppers for a while.

And here’s something noteworthy. Havana now has a fully functioning, and get this…reliable, public transit system. After buying a whack of buses from China and Russia in the last six months, I dare say that it is possible to take the bus in Havana and get to where you are going on time (or relatively close to).

And yet in Canada we couldn’t run a peanut wagon let alone a government, or much else for that matter. I’m about as close as I’ve ever been to a one-way ticket to taking up medical school in Havana.

I’ll keep you posted.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Black Caps squad for WIndies 

Time to move on from all the wretched disappointment of the Bracewell era, ending as it did with the abysmal Bangladesh tour and the expected, but still gutting, losses to Aus. The Caps are at home to the Windies and we've got a seventh placing to claw back. The selectors must have kept an ear on public sentiment this week, as it looks like they've taken all the popular decisions in naming the Black Caps squad to face the Windies on Thursday.

Starting at the top Son of Rodney is another opening-bat victim, swapped out for yet another journeyman provincial player in the form of his life, Tim McIntosh. By the same criteria it could have been Matty Bell back for a third time. I feel that Redmond would have made a decent fist of things once back on familiar pitches and has missed out. He's also an extra spin option and a back-up keeper. To his credit he took the axing well, as I'm sure he's now gone the way of Papps, Cumming, et al. McIntosh needs to cement his spot in these two tests or we'll be scanning the form guide for the next victim before India tour in March.

Gareth Hopkins is out. We don't really need a spare keeper at home, although with Redmond out it does mean that Jesse the Body could be called on to do a few squats.

Grant Elliott can't compete at Test level and shouldn't have been asked to fill Jake's shoes. Now that Oram is back Elliot can go back to being a bloody good provincial player for the Firebirds.

Fulton should have been asked to fill Jake's shoes earlier but as it is he's had a one-Test recall. Probably seventh when seeking the best six batsmen in the country currently so I hope he has a cracker domestic season and gets more chances should anyone else fail or fall.

Oram returns to his number six spot and immediately makes for a better looking line-up, especially with James Franklin joining him after showing off his batting skills, polished by lots of batting practise while recovering from his knee injury. Our middle-lower order is world class with these guys joining Vettori and McCullum.

I'm pretty excited to have Franklin back. To me he is an 'in ink' player for the BCs along with the senior trio and Taylor. Franklin's inclusion comes at the expense of wonder-kid Tim Southee, who has been well-blooded overseas and on some different tracks. I hope his dropping reflects a good player development strategy designed to bring out the best in him.

Chris Martin is out, dropped nominally in favour of Mark Gillespie but really his spot has been taken by Ian O'Brien. We don't need two reliable bunnies. Probably a good decision on form and we do have a decent stck of bowlers currently, so keeping them all competitive makes sense.

The selectors have suggested a lineup change, recomending Daniel Flynn move to three from five, swapping places with Jesse the Body. I like the move. Flynn has a much better temperament for three, as does the Jesse the Body for five.


The questions:
How many more chances for Jamie How?
How many chances for McIntosh?
Taylor ahead of Ryder at four?
Franklin eight and Vettori nine?
Sorriest for Redmond or Martin?
Any better ideas?

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Saturday, December 06, 2008

RIP truth seeker 

It is with great sadness I report on the passing of, who I believe to be, one of the great New Zealand scientists and minds of our times.

There are few nowadays who are prepared to take a stand against the norm - prepared to rock the entrenched foundations of conventional wisdom and popular thought, damned the heavy toll of personal consequence.

But Owen McShane was one such straight thinker.

His unceasing noble work in the battle against the "myth of global warming" and on behalf of New Zealand's emitters and economy, will be remembered for years to come.

Just last week the NZ Herald - which must be commended for publishing McShane's truths and reinforcing in the public eye that there is genuine intellectual debate on the topic - ran his scholarly article exposing Brian Rudman's opinion piece on global warming as nothing more than a politically motivated attack on the Honorable Rodney Hide.
His terminology "human assisted global warming" is so weak and so subject to interpretation that he is probably right. After all, much "global warming" has been "assisted" by downright fraud and alarmist claims.

The urban heat island effect (caused by cities) is well recognised, and the extreme economic and demographic inputs into the IPCC computer models have also "assisted" in creating an impression of global warming.

Indeed, for any one with the time for finding out about the "truth" I suggest you follow some of the inspired links from the late McShane's nzclimatescience website, a modern day "The Origin of Species" I believe.

Some links from the site I personally recommend:
Why NZers should list vote ACT
Is Climate Change Science Equipped to Answer Questions
Why BBC shunned David Ballamy

Details of McShane's unfortunate passing are still coming together however the NZ Police released a media statement today saying that at this stage it appears to have been an unfortunate accident.
"The deceased was enjoying a few drinks at a family picnic in a park when he wondered off to look off the edge of the earth. Unfortunately it would appear the deceased has leaned too far over the edge and lost his balance and fallen straight off the face of the earth," detective Alice Webber said.

"It's really unfortunate, there are many signs in the park warning people to be careful and not to lean over the edge."

Detective Webber says the police will double its efforts in petitioning the local city council to fence the edge off once and for all.

I just hope that with his passing McShane's critics in the mainstream media will now have the good grace to stop their cruel attacks; linking this truth seeker with big oil and shameless scientific frauds.

How time will judge ye to be fools.

Friday, December 05, 2008



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