(video irrelevant, I was just desperately trying to find something to distract from NZ’s recent on-field performance, and this worked best)
Hmmff. It seems that Short Of A Length has come out all guns blazing in the blog wars, ripping New Zealand a new one for a whole host of reasons – most, bizarrely involving Andrew Symonds (they’ve never really gotten over that little chat he had with Harbhajan over there, apparently). They’ve also asked the hard questions, like, for example, ‘Where are all the hobbits Duncan, WHERE. ARE. ALL. THE. HOBBITS???’. We’ll get to that in good time, ‘friend’.
For those mystified by the above paragraph, here’s a brief recap. While I was away sunning myself in Scotland a few weeks back I received an elecrtronic mail from a man named Antony Something-or-other, the CEO of a vast cricketing media organisation called Short Of A Length. The piece of correspondence cheerily challenged our own vast cricketing media organisation to a war of ‘words’ with his own, chiefly concerned with (but by no means limited to) the impending Indian tour of New Zealand. Being the charitable sorts that we are, we accepted graciously, despite the fact that we were fielding a solid second-string club side against an Indian squad which has at least seven future hall-of-famers amongst its number. That’s the sort of thing New Zealanders do, right? Gamely wander out to certain slaughter because, well, it’d be impolite not to. Then the unthinkable happened.
New Zealand won the first Twenty20. Against the World Champions, we sent in our team of dibbly-dobblers and whackedy-doos and brought the might of a nation of over a BILLION people to its knees, and were polite enough to go no further. To put a BILLION in perspective, India has about 25 people for every one of our sheep. Our entire population of sheep could feed India for about a day and a half. Though I’m not altogether sure that Indians eat sheep. That’s not super relevant. The point is that according to my rudimentary population-based calculations New Zealand should beat India approx. once in every 250 matches. And we’d already done it in the first match of the tour.
The most interesting element of the whole sorry affair? The good people at Short Of A Length were still previewing the South Africa-Australia series… They’d gone deathly silent just a few days after issuing this bold and seemingly unlosable challenge. So we posted away, trying not to read too much into the whole scenario despite the obvious bulge in our collective trousers. Then the same thing happened again, the match replicated to an almost frightening degree, with the same result, and again we posted about it, referring to the battle in slightly less prominent terms, as our opponents were STILL PREVIEWING THE SOUTH AFRICA-AUSTRALIA SERIES! I mean, come on! How much (wildly inaccurate, as it turns out, but we’d have swung the same way) previewing does one series need!
But more than that, I think as New Zealanders we’re entitled to ask questions about the slightly raw coincidences at work here, that for the entire Twenty20 series every single component piece of the Short Of A Length corporation mysteriously vanished, only to reappear in time for our humiliation at the hands of messers Seghwag, Dhoni, Duckworth and Lewis. Poor old New Zealand being tag-teamed by those young, fit Indian men and those old, statistically-minded Englishmen. A sex tape not even the most outlandish pervert would want to revisit, though one which Sky had the bad sense to screen in the interminable rain delays which saved us prevented a result in the second one dayer.
It’s been a pretty horrid week for New Zealand, and SOAL, a mouthful or blood and internal organs, is baying for more. There’s every chance India will again remove our dignity and waggle its shrivelled length in front of our glassy eyes this afternoon, but at least in Christchurch we have a venue which gave us a win in the Twenty20, and whose micro-boundaries proved too delectable for Sehwag (the main difference between the sides thus far. It’s not really fair that we’re playing cricket and he’s playing tennis, or some other sport where you smash the ball with inane frequency.) and caused his downfall before too much damage had been inflicted.
Plus surely bowlers as ‘world class’ as Mills and O’Brien can’t fail miserably in three games in a row? All will be revealed this afternoon, though if New Zealand somehow find a path to victory don’t be at all surprised if an outage affects all India and brings SOAL to another grinding halt. Just no accounting for technology huh guys?
Oh, and hobbits… We never tire of talking about hobbits in New Zealand. In answer to your question: We keep them stored in a warehouse outside Petone, battery hen-style, bringing them out once daily to retrieve their eggs. New Zealand: heaps of sheep, but WHERE ARE ALL THE CHICKENS?