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Wednesday, March 02, 2005

I don't like cricket, oh no 

Well something has to be said after that hapless display (the fourth in a series of five). And luckily for me, it's being said by others. So here's a selection of amusing quotes and insightful comments that I agree with.

Richard Boock in today's NZH:

Expect mothers to start locking away their young sons this morning as the New Zealand cricket selectors gather to name their side for the first test against Australia.

Devastated by injury, stress and incompetence, New Zealand's elite ranks have been stretched past breaking this summer, to the extent that anyone of eligible age and gender is in danger of being called up.

At last count, the number of defections for the first test was looking like something out of Exodus, leaving coach John Bracewell and his fellow selectors to comb the country in search of solutions.

As New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming dryly noted this week, "Anyone in white clothing is in the frame at the moment," fuelling a suggestion that Bracewell might do away with the invitational approach in favour of conscription.

The mind boggles at the thought of a dozen frightened young men being herded into Jade Stadium to begin preparations for the opening test against Australia.

Well someone's been using his thesaurus. Well done, very poetic, and with that vital undercurrent of truth that makes satire bite. Richard continues:

But given Bracewell reckoned the Australians had psyched Sinclair out in the one-dayers, and Brett Lee had effectively knocked Papps out, you could be excused for thinking that he might be inclined to stick with Cumming for Christchurch.

Yeah, OK. But what's the deal with Papps? Is he still injured, and sufficiently seriously that he's unable to play? If he's physically recovered he should be back in the team (he was deemed good enough to make the team on Saturday, after all, although that's not necessarily saying a lot). If he's not, then we should hear about the extent of his injury. I doubt it's the first time he's been hit, and it probably won't be the last, so I don't accept this "psyched out" crap.

And here's the reaction of Yamis over on the Great New Zealand Discussion Forum:

Too many bowlers sending the ball down at the same speed and in the same place.

For the 10th time on this thread I repeat that we fucking well need slower guys in there that suit our wicket and offer variety to our attack. Look at India for decades selecting a couple of mediocre 'quicks' and 3 spinners. We should choose 2 seamers and 4 dibbly dobblies or spinners. And in tests we can go with one extra seamer (left armer for variety or whatever). [...]

Meanwhile the robotic attack of Mills, Cairns, Wilson and Hamilton are plastered into oblivion. It's like facing a bowling machine set on the "boring" setting.

Hear, hear. Why on earth didn't we play a spinner (say, one who recently took the handy figures of 9/13 in a first class game) in place of Vettori? It's absolutely unfathomable. There's no way, as Yamis has argued, that Wiseman would go for more than 6 an over.

Meanwhile, Boock makes an ominous comparison with the infamous "Invalids" tour of South Africa in 2000:

The last time New Zealand toured South Africa, Fleming found himself in a similar position, losing all the one-dayers against the Proteas and then watching as his side were crushed in the tests at Bloemfontein and Port Elizabeth.

The only thing he lost more of was players, with nine out of action at one stage, and others dropping so frequently that a headcount became obligatory at the hotel breakfast every morning.

There's been some good stats work from the contributors to the discussion forum, including Dinkas with this gem of knowledge:

If you look at the stats for this season's State Shield, you will see how pathetic the batting has been. Only 8 centuries for the whole season (2 for McMillian, 2 for Vettori, 2 for Papps, and 1 each for Astle and Gaffeney). Sinclair is just behind McMillian with 353 runs and I would pick him in the squad if we weren't playing Australia.

Dinkas also had this to say about media darling Stephen "The Mullet" Fleming:
On Fleming's captaincy, f*** Flem frustrates me. Sometimes, I can't understand his decisions. Like the other day, he brought Wilson back for his second spell, bowls one over and goes for 2 runs, then he takes him off and brings back Tuffey and he goes for 14 runs (can't remember exactly but between 13-15 runs). I couldn't understand it. Also, not getting Astle to bowling out his overs when his economy rate was just over 4 an over was stupid as well.

Fleming's contribution to date: bad decision to send Australia into bat, bad management of the bowling attack (except for the one time he bought Astle in for the 11th over, and banished Tuffey from the crease), and crap batting: 5, 1, 1, 37. That's an average of 11 runs per innings.

Ah, I give up.


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