Tag Archives: Iain O’Brien

A Good Time To Be Indian

harba

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

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The Phony War Is Over

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cU5jSKOoFo0%5D

(video irrelevant, I was just desperately trying to find something to distract from NZ’s recent on-field performance, and this worked best)

Hmmff. It seems that Short Of A Length has come out all guns blazing in the blog wars, ripping New Zealand a new one for a whole host of reasons – most, bizarrely involving Andrew Symonds (they’ve never really gotten over that little chat he had with Harbhajan over there, apparently). They’ve also asked the hard questions, like, for example, ‘Where are all the hobbits Duncan, WHERE. ARE. ALL. THE. HOBBITS???’. We’ll get to that in good time, ‘friend’.

For those mystified by the above paragraph, here’s a brief recap. While I was away sunning myself in Scotland a few weeks back I received an elecrtronic mail from a man named Antony Something-or-other, the CEO of a vast cricketing media organisation called Short Of A Length. The piece of correspondence cheerily challenged our own vast cricketing media organisation to a war of ‘words’ with his own, chiefly concerned with (but by no means limited to) the impending Indian tour of New Zealand. Being the charitable sorts that we are, we accepted graciously, despite the fact that we were fielding a solid second-string club side against an Indian squad which has at least seven future hall-of-famers amongst its number. That’s the sort of thing New Zealanders do, right? Gamely wander out to certain slaughter because, well, it’d be impolite not to. Then the unthinkable happened. Continue reading

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Groundhog Days

big_bill_in_groundhog-731047

“Leaving the ball outside off stump is a waste of time.”

The above quote kinda summed up a Twenty20 which more-or-less rehashed the first of the series, with the same outcome – albeit via a slightly more nervewracking methodology. So why was it such a fantastically compelling game of cricket?

Firstly, the quote’s author is Virender Sehwag, whose innings of 24 off 11 versus his first game returns of 26 from 10 should have tipped us to the Punxsutawney Phil-indebted nature of the match from the start. Gambhir mirrored his first match ineffectuality, Yuvraj took over Raina’s role as the respectability provider, and Dhoni mirrored Harbhajan’s I-ate-all-the-balls knock from the Christchurch game. Final analysis: a score about 30 short of defendable again, notwithstanding the dog’s breakfast we made of chasing it down. At least the crowd was different:

rotated Continue reading

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Rating the Also-rans

Daniel Vettori and the least-coveted trophy in international sport

Daniel Vettori and the least-coveted trophy in international sport

So this oddly interminable tour is finally over. Given that only about three hours of cricket was possible between showers, there was more entertaining cricket than we had any right to expect, and the West Indian side, chiefly through the unholy batting of Gayle and Chanderpaul, fought harder than they have in a while. Perhaps that was because they sensed that, in the Black Caps, they finally had come up against an opponent they had a shot at.

In the end, it wasn’t to be. They split the test and Twenty20 ‘series’ (insofar as two games of anything can be called a series) and lost the ODIs by the slenderest of margins. In amongst it we saw some sparkling debuts, some mediocrity maintained, and one player in particular leaning too heavily on a reputation not-quite earned. Here are DeadBall’s ratings for every New Zealander who participated in the tour.

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7 Things To Love About Yesterday’s Cricket

1.

2. Tim McIntosh using that let-off to carry his bat for one of the most dour, but necessary half centuries we’ve seen from a New Zealander in some time. Maybe since another un-flashy opener named Mark Richardson retired. His 62 off 210 balls won’t have given Sehwag any nightmares, but here finally it looks like we might’ve found an opener who values his wicket as highly as he should.

3. Iain O’Brien’s six wicket bag, including Gayle with his first ball and first-test trouble-maker Taylor for a worryingly quick 17. He doesn’t look like a test cricketer, O’Brien, but the way he charges in any surface makes your heart sing. This was a 400-500 pitch, so we’ve got a good shake here if a few of our heavyweights can come off.

4. Also – and this speaks to what David was complaining about a few days backIain O’Brien’s blog is a pretty fascinating read, and one clearly not subject to any interference. As a New Zealand sports fan it’s rather bewildering to read one of our representatives thoughts in this context. Aren’t those things supposed to be on the NZC website, about three lines long and written by some intern from Takapuna who gets it approved by three different PR people (but not O’Brien, obviously) before it goes live? Mind you, with New Zealand Cricket’s current administrative woes maybe they just don’t know about it… Continue reading

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7 Things To Love About Yesterday's Cricket

1. [youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EK-BavdWb84%5D

2. Tim McIntosh using that let-off to carry his bat for one of the most dour, but necessary half centuries we’ve seen from a New Zealander in some time. Maybe since another un-flashy opener named Mark Richardson retired. His 62 off 210 balls won’t have given Sehwag any nightmares, but here finally it looks like we might’ve found an opener who values his wicket as highly as he should.

3. Iain O’Brien’s six wicket bag, including Gayle with his first ball and first-test trouble-maker Taylor for a worryingly quick 17. He doesn’t look like a test cricketer, O’Brien, but the way he charges in any surface makes your heart sing. This was a 400-500 pitch, so we’ve got a good shake here if a few of our heavyweights can come off.

4. Also – and this speaks to what David was complaining about a few days backIain O’Brien’s blog is a pretty fascinating read, and one clearly not subject to any interference. As a New Zealand sports fan it’s rather bewildering to read one of our representatives thoughts in this context. Aren’t those things supposed to be on the NZC website, about three lines long and written by some intern from Takapuna who gets it approved by three different PR people (but not O’Brien, obviously) before it goes live? Mind you, with New Zealand Cricket’s current administrative woes maybe they just don’t know about it… Continue reading

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