Tuesday, August 28, 2012

What price a wicket?

The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.
           Vince Lombardi - American football coaching legend

How do batsmen define price - value, worth, or dollars and cents? Is the price they put on their wicket something entirely different?

In the IPL, where money abounds and a player’s worth is crudely defined by their price at auction, putting a numerical value on price is easier, or is it? Half a million dollars over 10 innings artificially sets the price of a star’s wicket at $50,000, regardless of the runs they make, or don’t – but isn’t that too simple? Should the amount a player is paid for his services even have a place in the price they put on their scalp? For the sake of the game, let’s hope not.

Monday, August 20, 2012

A tour to India and the World T20 – a Kiwi view

Pallekele International Stadium (courtesy of Getty Images)
For a New Zealand cricket fan, recent history has not been kind. The national team’s dismantling in the West Indies rubbed salt into an already festering wound, and reminded many of the efforts of their efforts prior to Stephen Fleming’s reign at the helm.

A one win – eight loss record across all three formats in Florida and the Caribbean should never be acceptable – most leading cricketing nations would be looking to run a scythe through their line-up but those in the second tier, such as New Zealand, do not have that luxury. That we are in the middle of the off-season means there are even fewer options to call on to step up at international level.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The team and “I” in professional cricket

A professional is someone who can do his best work when he doesn't feel like it.
             Alistair Cooke KBE – journalist/broadcaster

(Courtesy of toonpool.com)

Most definitions of a professional centre on money and payment; they miss the essence of professionalism. Cooke’s description brings it to life – money is such a small part of it.

In the wake of the drama that is the Kevin Pietersen saga, it’s worth considering what professionalism means in modern cricket. Is it based solely on remuneration or is it a mind-set? What are the roles, and importance, of the individual and the team? Does one outweigh the other or does a successful team need to find a healthy balance?

Friday, August 10, 2012

West Indies tour review 2012 (3)

Part 3: Issues, opportunities and an Olympic pause

Issues and opportunity encapsulate all that is New Zealand cricket and its cricketers - the problem is that the opportunities seem to morph into issues. Throughout the tour old mistakes were repeated ad nauseum whilst new ones were created. That the most engrossing part of a long tour was an Olympic final says it all…

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

West Indies tour review 2012 (2)

Part 2: There’s no “I” in team. Or is there?

In Part 1 I took a look back at the early happenings on tour – a second trip to Florida, Kane Williamson stepping into the captaincy role and the start of a spate of injuries that saw 10 players miss at least one match.

In the second of the three part series I consider the individuals who both shone and slumped – they all had an impact, but was it a positive one?

Is the potential tag becoming a noose?
If you’ve read previous pieces I’ve written, you’ll have read that tagline many times – it’s something that seems to afflict many of New Zealand’s naturally talented cricketers. I am an unashamed supporter of Kane Williamson but it’s time he takes his game forward – for mine it needs to become a “sooner rather than later” proposition. At 22, Williamson is still a young man. He’s only played 14 tests in his third international season but when you start your career with a debut hundred against India on the subcontinent and then blunt the South African attack two years later, it’s hard as a fan to accept mediocre returns.

Monday, August 6, 2012

West Indies tour review 2012

Part 1: Early doors on tour
Ever since Kane Williamson and Doug Bracewell walked off the Basin Reserve having blunted the South African attack to stave off victory, my thoughts have been focussed on the New Zealand tour to the Caribbean.
The 2012 edition was not like the tours of old with large baying crowds, hostile bouncers, forceful stroke play and a cloud of ‘ganga smoke wafting through the stand, but it’s a Kiwi side in the West Indies – two of my favourite things in cricket. 
Man for man the two sides measured up well – it’s a pity for New Zealand the game is played on the pitch and not paper. I was looking forward to a close battle between two teams dear to my heart, but it was largely one-sided and the gap was substantial.