A Good Time To Be Indian

harba

When the best thing you can say about a match from New Zealand’s perspective is that we avoided an innings defeat, you know it hasn’t gone according to plan. 10 wickets is comprehensive enough anyway, but the stubbornness McCullum and O’Brien showed was pleasing in terms of staving off that ultimate humiliation.

The good thing about a loss like this is that it can’t help but force changes. The batting line-up had an off match, though one of our top six went to a dubious decision in each innings, but ultimately those guys deserve another shot. A seam bowling attack comprising Mills, O’Brien and Martin (Franklin considers himself a ‘batsman who bowls’, so let’s leave him aside) is manifestly inadequate, and definitely lacking in the variety and sheer danger to win matches at this level. All of these guys have their moments, for sure, but they’re too infrequent to pass muster, and Mills wouldn’t be playing test cricket for any other nation in the world. But this loss, like all the others on this tour, feels more like defeat at the hands of a better team, and less like a regular New Zealand implosion, than most in recent times.

McCullum was bitterly disappointed in the efforts of his fellow batsmen, apparently, and on one level that’s understandable. The two scores they managed for their 20 wickets were symmetrically mediocre, cumulatively about right for one sustained concentrated effort on a pretty good track. The top six collectively averaged 27, the bottom five 23.4. Those statistics are far too close together for comfort, and each is dominated by two scores – the centuries of Ryder and Vettori, without whom a 1o wicket loss would have been an innings defeat for the record books.

But like I say, this is an inexperienced batting line up, and one that shows great promise both individually and collectively. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that this is the most exciting group of young batsmen we’ve assembled in the national side in some time.

Where the batsmen are young and full of promise, though, the bowlers are the reverse. Those three ‘pace’ (I use the term loosely) bowlers have an average age of 32, and none are on the right side of thirty. This is not to say that they should all be cast aside, but we desperately need some fresh blood. Despite his record pasting in the ODIs, surely Southee represents a better selection for the future (and present, realistically) than Mills? Jeetan Patel too was crying out for a spot, and brings some enthusiasm and tenacity to side prone to occasionally disappearing when the foot needs to be applied firmly the throat (see: Zaheer’s innings).

As I say, we were beaten by a superior cricket team, one that fought hard, took their chances and deserved the success. Short Of A Length have maintained a dignified silence on the result, thankfully for us – perhaps they’ve run out of superlatives and hobbit jokes. They’d better get some more, because there’s two (can you believe we’ve got a THREE test series happening?! What’s the world coming to!) more tests for us to struggle manfully through yet.

And if we are to avoid repeating the same result in Napier we need to bat far more doggedly and field at least one, if not two different bowlers. We will probably still lose, but at least we’ll have learned something new.

– Duncan

PS – Abysmal effort by the White Ferns (is that their name? It’s so hard to keep up) in the World Cup final today. Meek dismissals to awful balls, and only Doolan looked hungry for the title. But at least they made the final I guess. Better than their male counterparts have ever done.

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “A Good Time To Be Indian

  1. hard to know what the selectors can do here. arnel is injured. mills is shit. oram is not a strike bowler. can we really expect to run through the indians with patel? its not like the indians don’t know how to play spin. this just feels like one of those situations without a real easy answer. the only clear thing is that mills can’t play. surely. southee maybe the best bet. if they want to replace franklin which would be harsh then oram. has vettori given the selectors any choice about oram with his comments after the last test?

    and blow me down if flynn is out I will say it again- it should be kane mother f——- williamson. its not the same as a young crowe against lillee and thomson and its not the same as a young ken ruthorford going to the west indies to face patterson, marshall and walsh. if flynn is down bring the boy in.

  2. Duncan

    I like your analysis of our bowling issues… The best part of the whole shitfight is that Tuffey, who I actually quite liked as a test bowler, is now demanding selection at domestic level, but thanks to the ongoing issues with the IPL/ICL, we can’t select him. So that’s him and Bond we’re fighting without, as if we needed any more handicaps. I guess we just pick Patel and hope for the best, it’s a strategy no limper or more likely to succeed than any other we’ve employed this summer.
    In terms of Williamson, the guy is pretty much giving the selectors the finger now, not much more he can do. Averaging more with the bat than the ball (how many of our ‘allrounders’ can you say that about?), hitting big quick tons when all around him are politely handing over their wickets… Only issue is that he would be yet another massively inexperienced batsmen in a lineup with about four tests between them.

  3. what the hell.?? mills is still in the squad.??? maybe he’s the new number 6.

  4. Are we actually trying to win? with this team and apparent apathy (abject despair?) from the selectors about trying to do something proactive to unsettle the indians why don’t we just pick a team of batsmen and go for the draw. india can score 1000 and we can just try to bat and bat. what would a team of our eleven best batsman be and what would the order be? Vettori would still be there, maybe so would franklin.

  5. Duncan

    1. Tim McIntosh
    2. Martin Guptil
    3. Ross Taylor
    4. Daniel Flynn
    5. Jesse Ryder
    6. Brendan McCullum
    7. Kane Williamson
    8. James Franklin
    9. Daniel Vettori
    10. Johannes Myburgh (if elegible – does anyone know?)
    11. Matthew Sinclair (I know, I know… but the stats!)

    The worst thing is, I kinda think that side would actually do better than the one we’re going to field. Be worth an experiment surely? Vettori, Franklin, Ryder, Williamson, Taylor and Myburgh can all bowl. Fuck it, y’know.

  6. this is good.don’t think myburgh is eligble yet. sinclair at eleven would be fine. he’s got to do better than martin. with this line up i guess ryder and franklin would open the bowling with vettori, williamson to do a lot of bowling. maybe we could have nathan mccullum as our extra batsmen in place of myburgh or old cumming who also bowls.ingram has also been having a decent season. i’m not a fan of howe at all- he seems so ‘all or nothing.’

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