Monday, May 20, 2013

Cricket’s David and Goliath – Dempster’s dominance

Who better to use as a marker for New Zealand’s early efforts against England than Charles Stewart (Stewie) Dempster? Dempster was a talisman for early New Zealand cricket as they found their feet on the game’s top shelf. His short international career accompanied New Zealand’s entry into the international arena – that it ended three years later was a bitter blow to the Kiwi cause. 
 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

SPIN Cricket: A touch of Old Blighty in Aotearoa

The good folks at SPIN Cricket did me the honour of publishing the following article in Issue 71 – May 2013. Take a look at their website or follow them on Twitter @SPINCricket.


The final stanza of England’s New Zealand tour reaffirmed why we all love test cricket - whether Kiwi, English or neutral, the outro in Auckland is what keeps drawing us back to our great game. As a New Zealander I was torn between disappointment and pride, but on reflection the latter will win - as a cricket tragic I found nirvana.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Cricket’s David and Goliath – a lopsided history

New Zealand and England have a storied history, a David and Goliath battle in which prowess with a taiaha (the slingshot doesn’t fit with our gladiatorial nature) occasionally overcomes the brawn and bravado of a playground bully.

If the fierce rivalry with our West Island mates is akin to backyard cricket with cousins, England is more like a bitter sibling rivalry – at some stage the young upstart comes of age and usurps the grizzled older brother, if only to be knocked down to size again and again, harshly reminded of his place in the world.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The longest journey starts with a single step, or four

Call me a philistine, but until a week ago I was unaware that our international women’s cricketers played almost solely for the love of the game. I assumed there would be a sizeable gap in remuneration between the men’s and women’s squads but for a country that prides itself on gender equality, I didn’t expect New Zealand would be languishing so far behind many of the game’s other nations, given we were the first country to offer a professional contract to a female cricketer more than 15 years ago.

Among a myriad of public relations bungles and the on-going, and developing, John Parker saga, New Zealand Cricket finally caught my attention for a win off the field. The announcement of ground-breaking contracts for four of our women’s cricketers should be celebrated – captain Suzie Bates, Sian Ruck, Sophie Devine and Sara McGlashan the first recipients.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

The fabled five to celebrate 150?

“…there are the Five Cricketers of the Year, the selection of whom has been the sole prerogative of the editor since 1889, give or take the occasional break for a world war”.
        Lawrence Booth, Mail Online, 11 April 2012

Since the diminutive John Wisden put pen to paper for the first Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack in 1864, Wisden has been a fixture for every cricket tragic. Since 1889*, the editor’s choice of his Cricketers of the Year sparks debate that often approaches physical confrontation, so impassioned are many readers in support of their choices.

Wisden’s five is the oldest individual award in cricket, one of the most prestigious honours in our great game. To grace the pages of the 150th edition is to secure one’s place in cricketing history, a chance to live in the collective memory of all who read cricket’s bible.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Love

“Cricket was my reason for living”.
           Harold Larwood

Larwood's utterance isn't an isolated view - the inner thoughts of a ruthless quick whose opinion mirrors many of his contemporaries, past or present.

I adore our great game, there is no room for debate in that, but is it my first love? The one thing that I couldn't live without? Is it that for any of us?

Any utterances I were to make about a player's (international, at least) love for cricket would be mired in hearsay - my experiences as a club hacker don't provide a basis for such lofty assessment. An outside-in view is murkier than quantifying the birthdate of a Pakistani cricketer - I'll leave that up to the paid brigade, especially given their number continues to swell with ex-internationals at the expense of those with a journalistic grounding (that's a subject for another day).

Friday, March 8, 2013

“Son of”, or his own man?

Why must every successful cricketer whose father walked in the same circles years earlier be constantly compared to the "old man"? What is our engrained need for him to be referred to as the "son of"? Doesn't it show a lack of respect and knowledge of either man - that one is somehow a greater or lesser light than the other?

Ken Rutherford was a fine cricketer, though the start of his international career will long live in New Zealand Cricket infamy - to open the innings in your international debut is a formidable ask. To take guard against the might of the West Indies at the peak of their powers in a Caribbean cauldron is akin to sending a child out to do battle in a Roman coliseum, with the local masses squeezed into every space baying for your blood. At 19, it's a wonder Rutherford didn't join Jeremy Coney in one of the local hospitals, with broken bones and a spirit suffering a similar ailment.