I interviewed the current New Zealand Cricket captain Dan Vettori late last year for my employer, Barkers Men’s Clothing (you can read the better, fancier feature at the Barkers blog), and thought I’d post the transcript of the interview for your reading pleasure. Bear in mind that the interview was conducted four months ago, so there was still hope for the season at the time. Or that faint patina of hope that all New Zealand Cricket fans know and ‘love’.
That soon faded. But the thrill of interviewing Vettori never will. He was an exceptionally impressive fellow, well-spoken, thoughtful, opinionated… Everything you’d like a sportsman to be, but so rarely encounter. I happened to be reading Michael Lewis’ excellent sabermetrics tribute Moneyball at the time, and self-consciously had it lying on the table between us when he came down. I figured it was as good a way as any to see how curious he was. I figure most All Blacks don’t even look at the book. Dan Vettori not only looked at it, he made keen observations about its content (tragically before I switched my dictaphone on) and had, in fact read it twice, the second time after he had made a concerted effort to appreciate the intricacies of baseball so as to see what that new knowledge altered in terms of his appreciation for the book.
Which is just great. We’ve now had two straight captains who are serious students of the game – but not just the game they happen to excel at, but games in general. For a side like the Black Caps, cursed by population and temperament to never have the resources our opposition has at their beck and call, this attribute is incredibly important. God knows where we’d be without his influence. Anyway, without further rumination, here is the transcript of our conversation,
A few days late and dollars short as will no doubt become usual, but here’s Aaron Hawkins from Radio 1 in Dunedin and Duncan from DeadBall’s chat from Friday 12 Feb 2010 (c. 730am every Friday). We discussed the impending tedium of the Winter Olympics, railed against matey coaching, specifically as it relates to two recent appointees (Greatbatch and Crowe) from the astoundingly old ‘Young Guns’ era of the ’90s who’ve slipped back into the national side, and touched briefly on that lovely thing that happened to New Orleans a week or so ago.
Play below or go here and download.
http://player.soundcloud.com/player.swf?url=http%3A%2F%2Fsoundcloud.com%2Fdeadball%2Fdeadcast-balls-2 DeadCast: BALLS 2 by Deadball
News has broken that the BCCI has decided, in its infinite benevolence, to allow its players an amnesty until May 31 to cut all ties to the ICL. This means any Indian cricketer who ended their career by signing with the rebel league can rescucitate them and make nice with the effective governors of world cricket for the next 30 or so days.
This is long overdue, and frankly the situation should never have gotten to the blacklisting stage in the first place. (As an aside, is there any sport that loves blacklisting as much as cricket? The Packer era, Apartheid rebel tours, latter-day Zimbabwe… It’s a very McCarthyist sport.)
Why should we care? Because all national boards are expected to follow suit, meaning that the glaring hole in our current team’s make up, that of a genuine strike bowler, might be filled… Yeah, Bond could be back playing for us as soon as the Twenty20 World Cup, should sanity prevail and the ridiculous ‘cooling off period’ (what are we, 12?) be abandoned. Does anyone else find the timing of this a little convenient? Continue reading
Filed under Cricket, News
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. Continue reading
Having been shivering my way through England and Scotland these past couple of weeks, with the only cricket news being that monumentally cool (if on another level ineffably sad) Stanford scandal all across the front pages – one I’m gonna try and approach that this weekend – it was something of a culture shock to arrive back to last night’s Twenty20.
Our friends over at Short of A Length have challenged us to something of a blog war over the course of the series, so I suppose it would be remiss of me not to have a good long gloat at the result of the match, one which went decidedly against forecast, and hopefully sets up a fine battle over the coming weeks. The thing I find most pleasurable about the outcome, from a very parochial perspective at least, is the extent to which I see the same gnawing issues in India’s play that plagued them during that infamous series last time they toured here. Continue reading
Jesse Ryder in happier times
Jesse Ryder – a man who has made a career out of losing his dignity and spooning cookie dough into his mouth full-time – has shocked the cricketing world this morning by injuring himself while sober. The punishing left-hander sustained a rotator cuff injury to his shoulder yesterday at training prior to the first ODI of the Chappell-Hadlee series, and an MRI scan will today determine the length of his absence from the Black Caps.
Team-mates expressed their surprise and disappointment at Ryder’s conduct, particularly ahead of such a vital series.
“I’m stunned, to be honest,” said captain Daniel Vettori. “You look at Jesse and his physique and you figure the one thing you can rely on is for him to have a pretty relaxed attitude to training.”
“I lie awake at night after big games worrying about what he might be up to, but at training – I mean, that’s where Jake [Jacob Oram] or Millsy might go down, but Jesse? Not one one of the most enthusiastic guys in the group, you’d have to say.”
Filed under Cricket, News
Who’s that devilishly handsome man? Not your pimply cousin from down country, it’s Trent Boult, the newest infantile cricketer to be rushed into the Black Caps, this time at the expense of a man old enough to be, if not his father, then at least a very estranged step-brother in Mark Gillespie.
Much as I’m loathe to praise the New Zealand selctors, they really are on something of a roll at the moment, picking young, talented in-form cricketers who have largely justified their selections. Strange days indeed.
One of his barely-shaving brethren, in Daniel Flynn, has been dropped from the side to face Australia in the Chapell-Hadlee series, which is a touch rough given his fine test form and a couple of scratchily helpful knocks against the West Indies, but again, demanding performance is a new and exciting leaf for NZC, and one that should be applauded. Continue reading