Maybe I Do Want A Bat Like Grant Elliott's

Do You Want a Bat Like Grant Elliott's? Maybe...

If you follow cricket on the internet, you’ll be familiar with those strange, pitiable google ads that Buzz Bats run asking, somewhat plaintively, ‘Do you want a bat like Grant Elliott’s?’

The question is ridiculous on so many levels it’s difficult to know where to start. How about the fact that he’s 30 years old, but only made his Black Cap debut last year? Or that he moved to New Zealand only as a second choice after his career looked stalled in the cricket powerhouse of South Africa? Or that he has a ‘dodgy allrounder’ (bowling average minus batting average) number in first class cricket of 7.4?

He’s also not the most handsome or demonstrative guy on the field, with thin. pinched looks and a detached expression which gels with his mostly mild-mannered strokeplay. In a country which is used to all-rounders who make the pulse race and blood boil (both Cairnses, Oram, Hadlee, plus that interminable Harris/Latham/Larsen/Styris list) he is something of a shrinking violet.

But this morning he played an innings which ran totally against the New Zealand archetype. He scored 75 off 103 balls, but that was skewed mightily by the powerplay which New Zealand rode to victory. His half century came off 90 balls, and he played the sheet anchor role to perfection, preventing Pakistan from sinking their teeth into a lower order which averaged between 10 and 20, and had a total of six ODI half centuries between them (including Elliott himself).

So New Zealand finds itself in the final of the ICC trophy (read Paul Holden’s great history of our form at the tournament here) for the second time, after that incandescent Cairns-powered victory in 2001, against an Australian side who are, if not ripe for the picking, certainly a more approachable proposition than at any other point in the last 20 years. We largely have Grant ‘the wallflower’ Elliott to thank for our appearance.Because the rest of the batting line-up hardly covered themselves in glory.

McCullum did his best McCullum expression by hitting a belligerent 17 as he attempts to cement his reputation as the most over-rated player in the world game. Redmond too built on his first class journeyman brand, while Taylor played a fine innings, including one breathtaking six, before getting out playing one of the more foolish shots the man’s ever attempted, a late cut off a straight off-stumper from Afridi. It was Vettori and Elliott’s exquisitely paced century partnership which choked the life out of Pakistan, despite the best efforts of their incredible 17-year-old wunderkid Mohammad Aamer.

The innings was all the more enjoyable for the way it flouted New Zealand convention. Contrary to popular belief we do win ODIs far more frequently than we have any right to, given our resources. Beating a team like Pakistan, who fielded sloppily, bowled far too many wides and no balls, had muddled field placements and poor discipline is that much more satisfying when you know that man-for-man we are inferior by some margin. But we normally beat teams by scrapping for every inch, and lurching across the line with some ungainly squirt for four.

Instead we paced it beautifully, and even while the commentary team were talking about how we were digging a hole as we slipped gently past a run a ball required, there was never the slightest doubt from around 160 on that we would make it comfortably. It was almost unnerving to see such a placid chase, without the lunacy and pain which normally characterises our cricket. You can imagine Craig MacMillan (who I could’ve sworn I heard Telfer demanding be recalled during the week) shaking his head in disgust at the composure and assurance on display.

It was a beautiful thing. And Elliott, with his trusty Buzz Bat, is the reason why. Google ads work, for the most part, on a cost-per-click basis. Impressions (page views) generally count for zilch. So if you word your advertisement right you can be seen by hundreds of thousands of eyes without ever being clicked (and therefore billed). ‘Do you want a bat like Grant Elliott?’ might be the most unclickable ad in history, a combination of an unknown manufacturer and unglamourous player becoming online lead.

His innings today, crucial as it was, is unlikely to change that. Even his recent purple patch (his four wickets against England earned him man of the match) seems unlikely to get his poster on the walls of New Zealand’s cricketing youth. But he is quietly becoming an essential cog in our side, the quiet success story to his predecessor Oram’s loud, groaning failures, and should we find a way to defeat Australia on Monday you can bet that Elliott will have played a vital role.

– Duncan

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Maybe I Do Want A Bat Like Grant Elliott's

  1. Mark

    You read my mind.

  2. iamcurrentlyintheshower

    Crazy Days. Can’t go past the consistent performances of Elliot. Would be interested to see his stats- setting as oppposed to chasing. I think if you are setting a target my only slight concern might be that he could go slow and we might miss out by 20-30 runs on getting what we might have with a bit more of risky, carefree method. He is absolutely the perfect man for the job though chasing anything under 260-270 I would have thought. Best chance against Aussies I think is to chase. I still think our batsmen get a little nutso about when to up the tempo if they are looking to set a score. Hard to believe we are still in this though, if you look at the injuries Oram has not been missed at all really- he wasn’t playing that great and Tuffey has been replaced by Butler who is bowling equally as well.I think we miss Ryder the most but then at the top Redmond could have a good day and be quite destructive so maybe those injuries are not so bad. Our bowling attack must be loving these S.A conditions.

    Does any one know how bad this Ryder injury is and how long he will be out? My Dad reckoned it could be career threatening. That seems unlikely surely.

  3. Zac

    I agree Dunc… If I could bat like Grant Elliot I would be happy!!

  4. Cricketknowitall

    Dunc,
    You dont really do your homework do you? I am from esher in surrey and watched him play this summer.
    Elliott left south Africa because of a contract dispute. He also considers himself a batsman who can bowl. Maybe you should go to http://www.cricketarchive.com and look at his stats since he has been in New Zealand. you might find he averages above 40 in both forms with the bat for Wellington.
    You are very quick to criticise and I am all for freedom of speech, but maybe you should do your homework before you get on your blogging high horse.

    Cairns -bowling allrounder, Hadlee -bowling allrounder, Oram – bowling allrounder. Its ridiculous that you compare him to these players.
    As for Buzz bats I think it is his own company. good on him for trying to start something outside the game.

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