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:
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.