Monday, October 29, 2012

Second rate coverage of a first class game

The Plunket Shield - full of history
The Plunket Shield got underway on Saturday with all the hoopla of an Eketahuna calf show. What was once New Zealand Cricket’s domestic flagship has been usurped - left to its own devices.

Mirroring the 2011/12 season, first class cricket in New Zealand is missing a voice on the airwaves, left to make its way on sporadic updates from around the grounds. Cricket is a game steeped in statistical history but it is words, and pictures, that bring it to life. Short score segments tell nothing of the game’s ebb and flow, the breakthrough performances of its emerging talent or the individual battles that hold centre stage in our great game.  

Friday, October 26, 2012

B is for… (Part 2)

Part 2: Bodyline to bunnies, with a victorious stop in Brisbane

(Courtesy of Getty Images)
In part one I took a short journey through a small part of New Zealand’s cricketing history and a period of unrivalled West Indian dominance over a struggling England. If you missed it, read Bartlett to Blunt via the Basin.

Part two is largely based in the West Island (Australia, for the uninitiated) – the world’s foremost cricketing icon, the series that set to nullify his dominance, a Brisbane victory that will go down in the annals of history (but not for out trans-Tasman friends), plus reading and rabbits…

Monday, October 22, 2012

B is for… (Part 1)

Part 1: Bartlett to Blunt via The Basin

A second single at the start of a promising innings, there was the option for more B’s than a hive flush with honey. Those that made my list have been a strong part of my cricketing education – stepping stones on the path to my love of our great game. 
The Basin Reserve (Courtesy of

Among them the game’s most revered player, New Zealand’s Wisden trailblazer and a genuine quick with a bent arm. But cricket is about more than just the players, we all remember matches, grounds and series - a crushing victory against our most formidable foes on their turf, a ground at the centre of Kiwi cricket, a whitewash with a twist and a series that angered nations, changing cricket forever. What resonates with cricket’s tragics is as varied as the surfaces it’s played on – here’s a collection dear to a cricketing Buddha.

Bartlett, Gary
How often does New Zealand produce a genuine quick – a fast bowler that can hurry and rattle batsmen, hurling red thunderbolts?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sri Lanka – Take Two

Less than a month after an early exit from the ICC World T20, New Zealand will return to Sri Lanka in search of better results. With Mike Hesson settling into his new role, will his side continue the progress they started in India or will the heartbreak of defeat linger? 

With domestic cricket not yet underway, and the recent A series providing no stand-out performances, the familiarity of the two touring squads was inevitable –emerging Canterbury leg spinner Todd Astle is the one new face. Twelve of the fifteen strong limited overs squad played in the World T20, while there are only two changes in the test squad from the recent tour to India.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Gayle. Gangnam. Glory.

(Courtesy of
The smiling, dancing and laughter at Colombo’s R Premadasa Stadium told a compelling story – for only the fourth time in a storied history, a West Indies’ skipper lifted an ICC trophy to the heavens – the cricketing world joined in the celebrations.

Chris Gayle’s mighty slab of willow may have been silenced on Sunday but he had wielded it like a Viking for three weeks. His impact on a buoyant Windies outfit was undeniable. The Calypso cricketers played the game we love like a sporting party – and they won! On sub-continent decks where one of the local sides looked set to take home the gong, a burgeoning Windies side extinguished their flame.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

(Super) Over and out

Southee says it all...(Courtesy of
For many, the final memory of New Zealand at the World T20 will be the mercurial Chris Gayle effortlessly hoisting a Tim Southee no-ball over the rope. One delivery summed up New Zealand’s tournament efforts – so close, yet in actuality a long way from success. The sight of shoulders drooping atop 11 black shirts matched the reactions of thousands of fans at home – no matter the frequency, the inevitability of another loss is no easier to swallow.    

Has the New Zealand side failed to live up to expectations? Unquestionably, but does that say more about the inflated views we have of our national side than the shortcomings in their performance? Ranked sixth in the T20 ICC rankings when leaving the Caribbean, New Zealand ended the tournament having slipped to eighth – on this occasion the numbers don’t lie. One win in five is a poor return – victory against a hapless Bangladesh will satisfy no-one.