It's Not Your Fault

Martin Guptil

Martin Guptil’s head hung disconsolately after his dismissal in this morning’s Twenty20, but it was Jacob Oram who should be ashamed of himself. The way The Giant meekly gave up his wicket was shameful, and you have to think his limp 12 ball 7 will be his last innings as a Black Cap.

Oram’s been a mercurial figure his whole career. For starters, a guy who’s 6’7″ should be bowling at better than military medium. When you think of tall cricketers from years gone by, the likes of Courtney Walsh and Curtly Ambrose, you think of intimidation, of bouncers which would decapitate a batsman if the blinked at the wrong time, of brutal, unswerving pace.

Oram somehow manages to bowl at 125-130 and be constantly suffering from a stress fracture or strain. How does he sustain those injuries? My grandmother is in her late 70s and not in the best shape, but I’m certain she could throw down an over or two at that pace without exacerpating anything. Throughout his career he’s been a containment bowler, pretty much interchangeable with Scott Styris, who at least has a hideous face to give him some cult appeal.

The saving grace has been his frequently savage batting. But as he last hit a half century for us over a year ago, so that’s been well and truly gone for a while now. I feel like his presence in the dressing room must be more of a hindrance now, this old, once-great war-horse creaking around, a shadow of his former potency, but refusing to admit defeat.

Instead the Black Caps wheel him out time and again with ever-fainter flickers of hope, and he gets no wickets for not too many runs, and uses 10% of our balls to score 4% of our required runs, and turns twos into singles, whic a fitter, faster, younger cricketer mightn’t have. And then we see sprightly, vibrant guys like Guptil destroyed by losing their wicket, when the only reason they’re out is because Jake couldn’t hit runs or gallop between wickets like he used to.

The team is right now in a state of flux. We have too many new cricketers (N McCullum, McGlashan, Redmond) who can’t be relied upon, and too many old nags (Oram, Styris – who also probably needs to make way) who are similarly unreliable. So the new kids who make runs (Taylor, Guptil, Ryder) and the old hands who’ve still got it (B McCullum, Vettori, Mills) have to carry far more of the burden than they’re physically capable of.

And we’re losing. By large margins. And if we’re going to lose by large margins, surely it’s better to be doing so with fresh blood in there than yesterday’s men? A young team which solidifies and learns together can end up surprising you, can gel as a unit and lift beyond its component parts. Right now, with Oram dreadfully out of form, and looking utterly disinterested, we’re breaking the young guys’ hearts and spirits.

Plus, as you can see below, Oram’s gotten a bit fat:

Jacob Oram's bum

This is the wicket’s view of him on its way down, and it caught a glimpse of an uncomfortable truth: our once fit and sexy allrounder has packed on the pounds. See that line along the middle of his buttock? That’s not musculature. That’s where his Y fronts are cutting into his arse-flesh, trying and failing to contain the jelly within.

I know there have been heaps of great fat allrounders in the past – Beefy Botham, Fattie Lehman, even Jayasuria’s not short of supplies for the winter. But Oram’s not built like that, and has only gained weight because he doesn’t care about winning anymore.

So it’s time to send him to the glue factory, we’ll make cents in the dollar, but he’ll be off our hand, and we can bring in a fresh generation of headcase allrounders to disappoint and occasionally thrill us.

– Duncan



Filed under Cricket

6 responses to “It's Not Your Fault

  1. Warney

    Watershed moment in the career of Big Jake Oram: breaking his finger taking an easy high catch due to shockingly poor technique. Abominable ever since. What game was that? An unproductive afternoon on statsguru beckons…

  2. Duncan

    If you can get us before and after stats on that injury you’ll be a total DeadBall hero. What the f*** is up with our fast(ish) bowlers? If you look at list of genuine talents of the past decade or so it’s just shocking how many spent most of their time outside the rope. Off the top of my head: Allott, O’Connor, Nash, Bond, Oram, Doull, Butler… But Andre Adams is always fit. Man it’s good to be a New Zealand cricket fan.

  3. Warney

    OK, he actually had a couple of alright series (v England and Bangladesh) post-finger breakage which kind of ruins my hypothesis statistically. In twenty-odd innings since his most recent comeback this summer though he’s failed to get past 30 with the bat, averaging under 12, and hasn’t managed to bowl his full compliment of overs in a ODI. It’s a bit harsh to judge a guy who bats in the lower middle order on cold hard stats but still.

  4. E. Chatfield

    Best moment last night:

    After Taylor got stumped, the TV played one of those godawful player intros for Scotty Styris – where he revealed his nickname was Miley, As in MILEY STYRIS

    I’ve been laughing about it for about 13 hours now and there’s no sign of me stopping anytime soon.
    There’s just something so perfect about insanely inappropriate it is, how un-cyrussy he is and the look on his face when he said it.


  5. I like how Styris is trying to start his own nickname yet every time he gets yelled at in the field it’s always Pigdog. Will there ever be a better nickname than Norm “Anthem” Hewitt?

  6. Is Styris the only player to attempt a bit of humour in those uncomfortable video dating intros? I seem to recall last T20WC it was “Scott Styris, right-hand bat, favourite shot: forward defensive.”

    They’re actually one aspect of T20 I’d love to see expand into other forms of cricket. Maybe they could record a different fact about themselves for each game so by the end of a tour we’d have learned what the first record Kyle Mills bought was and the who Ross Taylor would most want to be stuck on a desert island with or something.

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