So this oddly interminable tour is finally over. Given that only about three hours of cricket was possible between showers, there was more entertaining cricket than we had any right to expect, and the West Indian side, chiefly through the unholy batting of Gayle and Chanderpaul, fought harder than they have in a while. Perhaps that was because they sensed that, in the Black Caps, they finally had come up against an opponent they had a shot at.
In the end, it wasn’t to be. They split the test and Twenty20 ‘series’ (insofar as two games of anything can be called a series) and lost the ODIs by the slenderest of margins. In amongst it we saw some sparkling debuts, some mediocrity maintained, and one player in particular leaning too heavily on a reputation not-quite earned. Here are DeadBall’s ratings for every New Zealander who participated in the tour.
Daniel Vettori (Captain) 9/10
He took 10 wickets at 22 in the tests, and averaged a useful 29.5 with the bat, and followed it up with 6 wickets at less than 20 in the one dayers, going for a typically miserly 3.5 against two great strikers of the ball. He will be New Zealand’s best bowler until he chooses to quit, and his captaincy, while perhaps questionable at times in the Dunedin test, remains robust. He alone prevents us from slipping into irrelevance, and forces any opposition to think harder than they should have to about how to beat us.
Neil Broom 6/10
Only had two innings to prove himself, and wreaked unexpected havoc alongside fellow debutant Guptil with a hard-hitting 24 not out off 17 balls, then followed that up with a golden duck in Napier. Still, he looked composed and deserves more time in the side.
Grant Elliott 5/10
Selected as an all rounder, he’s never really looked up to with the ball, going at 7 an over in the ODIs without threatening to take a wicket. His batting’s been better, including an invaluable 30* for the series win in the final ODI, but he looks a long way from Styris and Oram’s best.
Daniel Flynn 6/10
A fantastic test series highlighted by a strongwilled 95 in Dunedin was followed up by a nondescript limited overs series. He came in at awkward times, though, and looks to be part of the solution to a plague of upper-middle-order difficulties we’ve suffered over a long time.
James Franklin 4/10
Came into the test side almost as a batting allrounder following a series of eye-popping scores in domestic cricket but singularly failed to deliver. He was perhaps unfortunate at times, but 9 runs total speaks pretty profoundly to how he performed, and he was equally toothless with the ball. Probably deserves another crack against the Indians, regardless.
Mark Gillespie 4/10
Had a horrible test match in Dunedin, going for nearly five an over without and wicketless to boot. He took five wickets in the ODIs at 22, but four came after a terrible opening spell when tailenders were looking to score. Has had enough chances.
Martin Guptil 9/10
Hard to argue with the kid’s figures. He owns an average of 165 thanks to a truly thrilling 122* in a rained off match in Auckland, and looked good for most of his 43 runs in Napier. If he can maintain anything like the steely compsure and cricket brains he showed in this series then the future’s bright.
Jamie How 3/10
Matthew Hayden wasn’t the only opener in rotten form this ‘summer’. How looked scratchy and ill-at-ease in both forms of the game, and will benefit from some time rediscovering his form in State Shield cricket before he comes back to the fold. He’ll just have to hope that the likes of Guptil haven’t stolen his place by then.
Tim MacIntosh 8/10
After promising so much for so long, but never quite vaulting into the national side MacIntosh looked born for the role in his majestic 136, and his Dunedin scores of 36 and 24* were a model of calmness against an attack which asked searching questions with the new ball.
Brendon McCullum 4/10
McCullum’s in an increasingly troubling rut, and is easily the New Zealand cricketer most in danger of following Stephen Fleming into the history books as a surfeit of talent never fulfilled. His cricket at the moment is fidgetty, impatient, characterised by thunderous strokeplay and incredibly frustrating dismissals. His on-field body language is similarly troubling, carrying elements of Australian contempt and anger without yet combining that with the record to mitigate it. His run of powerfully struck 20s, 30s and 40s must end soon, McCullum is no longer as young as he was, thus his flaws as less forgivable.
Kyle Mills 6/10
A test series which could politely be described as indifferent was followed by a very good set of ODIs, when he proved himself once again the natural leader of our pace attack, such as it is. Mills is a great example of journeyman cricketer training himself to such a level that he might have transcended the term, and his ranking reflects that. Right now, he’s comfortably the best pace bowler we can muster.
Iain O’Brien 7/10
I was one of many whose heart sank when Iain O’Brien was named in the squad for this series; the guy’s a trier, but surely Southee deserved more a shot than he got? But after his inspiring 6/75 you had to give credit to the guy. It was a brilliant innings of test match bowling, and if he was unable to muster the consistency in the second innings to bring us a win, he at least more than justified his selection.
Jacob Oram 5/10
When he got opportunities, he played well, but the guy’s endless run of injuries are starting to get seriously disruptive to the team’s shape and pattern. He plays his heart out when he takes the field, but the inability to stay fit severely hampers your ability to enjoy a player who, in form, is one of the world’s finest.
Jeetan Patel 8/10
Patel continues to impress every chance he gets, in much the same way that Stuart McGill did during Shane Warne’s era, and will likely get similarly frustrated by the opportunities presented to him. His five-for in Napier was a real labour of love, without much support, and the way the guy keeps up his enthusiasm is an example to the Jesse Ryders of this world. Speaking of which…
Jesse Ryder 7/10
You can’t argue much with his onfield work, 205 runs at better than 100 in the tests, and while he didn’t blaze as brightly in the one dayers he has a real savagery about him that will continue to scare opposing bowlers. But while his blatant breaking of curfew and getting into drunken trouble again might endear him to the terraces, it won’t do a thing for his team-mates opinion of him.
Matthew Sinclair -/10
It’s unfair to damn him on the basis of one missed opportunity, and he does get treated shabbily by NZ cricket, but he did nothing and must be aware that his days of being the 14th (or so) man in NZ cricket are surely over.
Tim Southee 6/10
Still maturing, but the uncorked potential of the young swing bowler is incredible. He responded well to his dropping from the test side, and while his averages and strike rate in the ODIs were nothing to rave about he’s still one of the brightest of the crop of bright young things populating our ranks at the moment.
Ross Taylor 7/10
Taylor struggled through the test series, getting in then out far too quickly for the form, but the way he redeemed himself in the one dayers, and near-singlehandedly won games or rescued innings (even allowing for the bit of luck that came his way) warmed the New Zealand cricket fan’s heart. His debut was barely a season or so ago, but already he carries himself with the steady assurance of a vet, and he epitomises the hope that infuses the next generation.