In what is becoming a DeadBall tradition, I’m going to rate the Black Caps out of ten for their performances against India. Every player who played at least one ODI gets a number next to their name, and the weighting spheress goes roughly 30/70. You know what the numbers apply to.
Cricinfo did it for the Indians, and our guys too, though obviously the panel of amateurs who put together their ratings have nowhere near as much authority as us. They also did a very enlightening and thoroughly depressing statistical analysis, which you should probably read. Plus they only rated dudes on the test series, forgetting the shorter form of the game (I was going to do Twenty20, but really, who cares?). All this fuss about test match cricket is seeing real cricket, played at night in brightly coloured clothing with white balls get short shrift. Not at DeadBall.
Anyway, here are our ratings: captain goes first, then the alphabet takes over.
Daniel Vettori (Captain) 6/10
It’s hard to criticise a guy who averages over 50 against one of the better bowling attacks in world cricket, but the fact that he’s selected as a bowler and managed to average over 50 with the ball in both forms of the game means we’re going to try. He might be the best number eight in world cricket, but by comparison to Harbhajan he was pretty toothless. His captaincy too, while energetic, sometimes seemed a little aimless (New Zealand used TEN bowlers during the test series), and he has yet to really impose himself upon the long form of the game in that role.
Neil Broom 3/10
Hardly fair to rate the guy on one match, but his 7 ball 2 in New Zealand’s doomed-from-the-outset 28 over chase of 216 is all we’ve got to go on, and it’s not much any way you frame it. His face always seems a picture of insecurity, even when he’s hitting boundaries, but for some reason I feel like he’s worth persevering with – even though he averages 17 in ODIs, with a couple of not outs inflating even that paltry figure.
Ian Butler 6/10
Probably a touch high, but his returning-from-injury, making-himself-a-batsman story has resonance, and is a parable for how New Zealand has to play its cricket: with supreme dedication and a willingness to create resources where none naturally exist. He played three ODIs, and took his wickets against a rampant Indian line up at under 40, while going for a shade under a run a ball. In this series, that was rarer than it should’ve been.
Grant Elliott 4/10
Not his best series, by a long stretch, though after his heroics in Australia he was always going to come back to earth with a bump. 64 runs in the ODIs was serviceable enough, but he increasingly seems like a specialist batsman, as his bowling, at over 8s, just isn’t international class at the present.
Daniel Flynn 4/10
I actually love the guy. For coming back the way he did from that truly horrific injury against England, he’ll always be a hero. But when you average less than i O’Brien for the series batting at three it hasn’t gone according to plan. After an epic, battling 67 in the second innings in Hamilton he missed out on the second test, but failed to provide the backbone we desperately needed in Wellington, and needs some runs to secure a spot that we all want him to lock down.
James Franklin 5/10
Selected in Oram’s place as an allrounder, after a run of domestic form too fine to ignore, Franklin struggled in both disciplines, though showed real determination in each. After a poor first test he picked things up with a fighting fifty in Napier, and was out lucklessly for 49 in Wellington. He only took one wicket, but it was the series’ undisputed batting king Gambhir for 23 in Wellington with a pearler, and if he can bowl more spells like that one he’ll take more wickets again. I feel like Franklin needs job security to flower, in the absence of a better, fitter candidate, he deserves the job.
Martin Guptill 7/10
Perhaps a number too high, because he still lacks a test 50 after five shots at it, but he looked so good, so confident in making his 130-odd runs that it’s hard not to grin every time the toe-less wonder plays an attacking stroke. Plus he played beautiful, attacking cricket in the one dayers, and between the two forms he has established himself as close to a fixture in the side, even in the unfamiliar openers role.
Jamie How 1/10
Hard to judge on one innings, but he was given a chance to do something outrageous and change the selectors minds with his coming in for Flynn, and scored exactly 1/12th as many runs as Chris Martin. I feel for the guy, but you’ve got to take your chances when they come along, and he manifestly failed to do that.
Brendon McCullum 8/10
Heroic in the Twenty20s, broke a run of indifferent form in the ODIs and scored a memorable century in the tests, it was the series we’ve been wanting from McCullum for too long. With Ryder he is part of one of the scariest opening partnerships in world cricket, and he is now managing to alter his game for the different forms (in a way that someone as gifted as Wisden’s new Leading Cricketer Of The Year Virnder Sehwag, was unable to). For a player of his naturally attacking temperament that’s no easy feat, and it’s to be hoped that this series was a turning point for the man, rather than another false dawn.
Peter McGlashan 7/10
Despite sharing a surname with the dour Don, McGlashan’s one innings of substance was tremendously exciting, a 42 ball 56 (in a match remembered more for Sehwag’s brutality) which redeemed some occasionally untidy work behind the stumps filling in for the injured McCullum. He won’t get many chances to keep, but if he takes them like he did these the selectors might look hard at him as a batsman.
Tim MacIntosh 3/10
The opener in test cricket has two roles: score runs, and protect the middle order from the terrors of the new ball. Slow-and-unsteady MacIntosh fulils the latter with some regularity, but too often falls after an hour for a score too low to be of much help to his team. Memories of that determined century against the West Indies won’t soon fade, but he is in need of a score to justify the hopes we had for him after that series. It should be noted that he was victim of a couple of indifferent decisions, but we need more from him than he’s currently giving us.
Chris Martin 8/10
The best fast bowler of the series was not Zaheer Khan or Ishant Sharma, but the almost-not-selected Chris Martin, the old smoker from Christchurch. Imagine our woes if Vettori had not convinced the selectors to save the old cart horse from the glue factory? In fact don’t, you’ll probably vomit in you mouth. Martin bowled with a discipline and adherence to those old standbys line and length that all New Zealand quicks should try and emulate, and kept to his work even when India were racing away. Plus, as has been endlessly, breathlessly noted, he was the only NZ batsman India couldn’t dislodge!
Kyle Mills 4/10
That number would be at least one higher if he hadn’t been asked to play a test match in Hamilton, which is hardly his fault. Surely we know now and for all time that Mills is a short-form specialist, and won’t break his will by troubling him with the long form? He got slapped around with the ball in the ODIs, but who didn’t, and anyone who saw his breathtaking half century in our bold, tragic chase of India’s 393 will never forget it. Ultimately, he’s Kyle Mills, you know? He’s in our team, part of the furniture. It’s like complaining about the weather.
Iain O’Brien 6/10
I’m still struggling with the fact that our commenter Molly reckons IOB would be a bit of alright if he had a haircut, but have to give the toiler credit. It was a helluva series for quick bowlers, bowling on some of the most miserable tracks New Zealand’s ever produced, and while he was hit for over 50 runs for each of his nine wickets he never flagged or lost faith in himself. Plus he played a few very handy lower order innings, perhaps as a penance for making Ryder get his debut ton with Tommy holding the bat at the other end.
Jacob Oram 3/10
Did you ever think Oram’s presence in a series would be close to irrelevant? The giant used to make our hearts leap with his every lumber, but to return this limply after so long away was very disappointing. No runs, and only two wickets, though his 2 for 22 in the final ODI was crucial, and he was the only bowler they couldn’t get hold of in the 393. But Oram the containing dibbly-dobbly merchant is not what we need from a guy who needs to be our talisman, taking wickets with awkward bounce and smashing the leather off the ball with the bat. We deserve better, Jake.
Jeetan Patel 6/10
Got a solitary run in both the ODIs and the Tests, and really grasped the latter, giving further fuel to those who allow themselves the occasional thought that maybe he’s a better test wickt taker than his captain. He goes for runs at times, but the four wickets he took were Gambhir (twice!), Sehwag and Tendulkar. His reward for such an impressive quartet was a return to domestic cricket, but one of the many great things about New Zealand’s hunkiest international cricketer is the magnanimity with which he accepts his lot in life. Deserves better.
Jesse Ryder 9/10
A pair of single figures scores in the final test pull him back from a perfect score, but without Ryder this would have been a rout. He took criticism from talkback drones for his response to getting out for 201, but for many fans that cemented our love of the guy. He wants success so bad, loves runs so much, that when denied the opportunity to make them he gets physically violent. Plus he has a handy knack of taking wickets when our well is pretty much dry. A brutish, instinctive opener and measured lower order bat, Ryder’s making a compelling case that when he went crazy and tried to play for Ireland a few years back due to the selectors continually ignoring him, he may actually have been in the right.
Tim Southee 2/10
The ignominy of being only the third bowler to bring up a century in an ODI was partially tempered by the romanticism of his stand with Mills, but in truth Southee is really struggling right now. After his spectacular debut against England I was so excited I put him in the music magazine I edit, but after a solid tour of England he has had a pretty horrible summer, and maybe needs a year or so back at domestic level before they bring him back. He still looks good in patches, but bowls far too many loose balls, and seems to get into a hole he can’t emerge from, a habit he has to snap to be as effective as we know he can be.
Ross Taylor 7/10
Had a diffident ODI series by his own exultant standards, but redeemed himself with some fantastic cricket under trying circumstances. His partnership with Ryder, from 23/3, was one of the all-time greats, and the exuberance he brings to the game is a joy to watch. If he can somehow tempter the urge to keep swinging when the runs are coming he’d be even more valuable, but regardless, Taylor’s absolutely crucial to this team.
Ewen Thompson 1/10
Seems rough to condemn a guy based on one game, but he went for over ten an over, so I’m going to. Looked singularly out of is depth, and came in with a reputation as a guy who took wickets, and took none. Admittedly it was against one of the most rampant batting sides in recent memory, but still. Work hard and come back when you’re better at cricket, Ewen.
NB – If you combine the scores, you get 100, and if you divide them by the 20 players you get 5. And 5/10 seems about right for a series which saw New Zealand compete with a very good Indian side from time to time, but only occasionally capable of closing the deal.