Friday, March 30, 2012

XI lessons from a New Zealand summer (2)

Part 2: Accelerating through the middle order

In Part 1 I took a look back at the performances of the New Zealand top order through the 2011/12 season and discussed the key issues facing New Zealand cricket.

In the second of a three-part feature I move away from on field performance and reflect on matters concerning (and perpetuated by) the fans.

5. Fans turn quicker than Vettori: When Craig McMillan, along with a number of other prominent sports “journos” and emotional “fans”, berated Jesse Ryder for costing New Zealand a T20I series victory against South Africa I began to question whether I had returned to the United Kingdom and was listening to the vitriol of football tragics after England’s exit from another high-profile tournament.

XI lessons from a New Zealand summer

Part 1: Opening up at the top of the order

New Zealand’s domestic summer is over – next stop is the Windies in the Caribbean. Before we move on to reggae, rum and Caribbean cool it’s apt we look back at the home summer.

From a T20I against Zimbabwe in Harare on Oct 15, 2011 until the end of the third South African test at Wellington’s Basin Reserve on 27 March, 2012  New Zealand have played 23 matches across all international formats – the much maligned Brendon McCullum is the only player to don the black cap in every match.

The undoubted highlight was New Zealand’s victory against Australia at Hobart in late 2011 – Doug Bracewell’s heroics helped his side to their first test victory on Australian soil in 26 years and confirmed the promise he’d shown in Zimbabwe. For mind, Kane Williamson’s fighting century in the final test of the summer ran it close.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Protea amongst the Silver Ferns

By Maiken Kruger

In the first of a new series of guest posts from both new and established bloggers, a close South African friend talks about supporting her team from afar – enjoy...

At the time of writing we are two tests down in a three test series between the Proteas and the Black Caps in New Zealand, and I’m watching the weather forecast for Wellington with increasing foreboding ahead of the third test.

Living in a country different to the one where your loyalties lay means doing what you can to get your fix of your favourite team playing your favourite sport. Weather interruptions are extremely unwelcome; especially when I’m unsure where my next South African cricket fix will come from.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Why not Kallis?

“…surely our trio (Lara, Ponting and Tendulkar) should be a quartet? For all his feats and constancy, Jacques Kallis tends to slip under the radar when it comes to idolatry…..Kallis commands more awe than affection”.                                                                                            
                            Rob Steen - ESPNCricinfo

“Tendulkar, Lara, Richards are cricketing royalty and so is Kallis - yet too often he is forgotten like Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh and, let's face it, Old Phil is pretty close to the top".                                                                                           
                            Mark Richardson - Herald on Sunday, 26/02/2012

When the red ink is marked against the score of J H Kallis for the final time and he bids farewell to our great game, his exalted place in cricketing history is guaranteed – but conjecture will remain about whose company he’ll enjoy near the summit. Surely even Kallis’ harshest critics cannot deny his unparalleled influence on South African cricket or the legacy he will leave the world game. Why is it that so many deny him his place amongst cricket’s modern batting greats?

Friday, March 9, 2012

The WISDEN addiction – one man’s story

Wisden: it might start with one but....
The first Wisden purchase most cricket fans make changes something in them – they may not have the immediate desire to collect the complete set but all know they are buying into a history closing in on 150 years.The little yellow book – a cricketing bible means different things to different people but in all of us it symbolises a love of our great game.

How did a Kiwi cricketing tragic half a world away from Wisden’s spiritual home catch the bug? Like many of my generation, I got the obligatory sporting biography at Christmas – it resonated with me and ever since I’ve collected cricket books quicker than the public turned on Jesse Ryder. In my formative years there was very little overseas cricket coverage on the television or the radio in Aotearoa, and before I embraced the digital age books opened a window to an unseen cricketing world – they are responsible for my love of the Windies.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The little yellow book – a cricketing bible

When little John Wisden launched his even smaller Almanack in 1864 he didn't know he was creating an institution - he thought he was establishing a nest egg for his retirement from a successful cricket career with Sussex…… arguably started the modern fascination with statistics, and set the standards for their accuracy and presentation. 
                                                                                  Steven Lynch

Wisden 1864 - where it all began
Is the written word continually playing and missing? Are books, once the source of all knowledge, about to be dismissed after a well compiled innings? Has the new digital age seen them go the same way as cricket's grafters in a T20 world?

With the cricketing bible, Wisden, set to celebrate its 150th year in 2013, no declaration appears imminent. How is the little yellow book still relevant after such a lengthy knock?