27 August 2010

Mills kills in a lost cause

India v New Zealand

I think the Kiwis had been lucky to receive half of the points from the washout against the Lankans, otherwise the humiliation would have been even worse. After their thumping win over India in the first encounter you would have expected NZ to pull the pants into the right position and go in with a bit more confidence. But losing the toss to a side that mainly consists of a determined Sehwag is always a blow to the morale, yet the Kiwis bowled their arses off and Timmy with 4-49, a superb Nathan McCullum with 3-35 and the two obligatory Mills kills rocked the Indian line-up, with the tiny flaw of Sehwag making bloody 110. Doom over the world, that was too much.

In my naive head I actually thought for some idiotic reason the total would be chaseable, until someone wrote something like "brittle batting line-up... Dambulla...". That felt like hammer on head. I seriously had totally forgotten about that, and all you could do in the end was watch the Sheepies go down. "Go" is the wrong word, they literally raced back into the hutch. Not sure why exactly the departure of an anti-hero like Martin Guptill triggers a collapse, because at the moment I am seriously reassessing my Seventoes campaign; it really took him a lot of time and hard labour to get me off his bandwagon (and I am still on it with half a foot for the mere reason of being physically unable to stop believing in him) but Martin G really is really doing his best to get axed. In fact it's a miracle he's still around. The rest of the batting line-up simply disgraced themselves in such an unspeakable manner that I don't want to talk about any of them, except for...

Kyle Mills

Kyle Mills is such a pleasure to watch, I can't throw my hands to the sky often enough and thank the lord for making him whole again haha. Oh man! His return demonstrates impressively how the Kiwis lacked edge during his absence. If Kiwistan had just one or two more of his kind they could hunt down the enemy like a horde of rampaging ogers. Go Millsy roll 'em!

Timmy Time: 4-49  |  Mills: 2-42, 52 off 35 (7x4, 3x6)  (c) Cameraworx/Live Images, AFP

Well well. Ross Taylor's string of successes has unfortunately got torn, but the problem lies a lot deeper. Kiwis can bowl, nobody would doubt that. But last night I caught myself thinking: What if they employed more Kolpak-sort-of batsmen, simply to get their international campaign up a level? Not saying that Grant Elliot is the next Sachin, but if you look around in county cricket for instance it makes you cry to see how many awesome Saffas are around who will never get the chance to play for a national side. What works for England could work for NZ as well, especially as unlike England NZ can obviously not produce the required batting depth on their own (while England have only just started bothering again). Out of the top of my head I cannot name a single awesome Kiwi batter, except for Ross that is, but even he has a steep learning curve to master. Thus nobody (I hope) would ever sledge the Kiwis as much as the English for any foreign players in the line-up, simply because everybody knows how much effort that little country puts in their cricket, especially if you consider that cricket is not their main concern in terms of sports. But the gap between domestic and international cricket is just so wide that the vast majority of attempts to lift the batting fails tragically. I know that a greater amount of legionaries in the side would maybe diminish the incentive for native Kiwis to aim at playing professional cricket, so maybe that's a shot in one's own knee then.

There have been suggestions around that NZ or NZ domestic teams should take part in the Australian domestic tournaments and I am highly in favour of that, alas it is not doable, although from an Australian perspective I would imagine it as utterly tempting, it would increase the attractiveness of the Shield matches enormously, if a some sort of New Zealand A team could join. Another possibility would be to somehow try and stuff more players into county clubs or allow for them in the Oz state teams. Not sure though if the Aussie clubs would make use of that offer. I am really out of ideas on how to solve the dilemma...

This was probably just a whole lot of tripe but imho NZ are that one minnowish side who really deserve to do better, they are such good bowlers and fielders and they need to find a way to expose themselves to top class cricket more often and become more competitive.


If you want a proper Kiwi blog by someone who is not a walking conniption fit, check this out: 



half-tracker said...

NZ are definitely one of the better one day sides, I think they are underrated and written off too early by most. The thing is, the length of matches suits their players more, who struggle in tests - Ross Taylor gets loads of breezy knocks between 30 and 80 which is frustrating in tests but fine for ODIs. The 'bits and pieces' brigade (Oram, Styris, Elliott etc) look more at home in coloured clothing. Millsy is a great player, strikes the ball with fine timing, power and shape. Plus you don't regularly get into the top 5 rankings for ODI bowlers for nothing.

greyblazer said...

I think Suhas was thinking about a few Saffa and Australian players who have been doing well in recent times in New Zealand's domestic cricket.

Kane Williamson looks good on the back-foot but needs a good run in the side. If Williamson doesn't succeed it is a huge blow for the Kiwis as whatever I saw of him in the under 19 world cup and even that 10 odd runs he got against India this guy looks like a fine back-foot player. It is disgusting to see Mills sometimes batting at even 10. He is a much better batsman than that.

Suhas said...

It was a devastating defeat but I wouldn't be overly fussed about it - both NZ and India have been equally patchy in this tournament and on another day NZ would have probably made the final (Sehwag made a huge difference), and I actually feel NZ were unlucky to share points in the SL game because a gettable revised target was in the offing.

The problem with giving test cricket the short shrift (as NZ are doing) is that batsmen often get found out when they play on pitches like that; sans Sehwag the mostly one-day oriented Indians were equally inept. What was disappointing for me was the lack of intent shown by the batters except for Mills. Also, I suppose there were never going to be adequate replacements for the 3 big guns who missed the tournament,and unfortunately Guptill as you said is going through a horror run so we were always up against it.

This is where a sensible top-order type like BJ Watling becomes important to NZ's future; I hope he realises he has a great chance to establish himself and takes it.

Wes ~PFCNFS~ said...

Hi guys, thank you for the comments. I agree on Kane Williamson, hence why I didn't sledge him in particular ;) There are also other factors about him, he should get more than just 5 minutes to prove himself especially given how long they've been clinging to Martin G. Taylor will mature, I am confident, Oram is out with injury.... once again :( Suhas they'll have no choice but come up with replacements, simply because the "big guns" won't play until they are 100. The Tri-series was a good opportunity to look at some alternatives. I share the concern (originally uttered by G Boycott) that B-Mac solely batting will feel a lot more pressure now as he can't rely on staying in the side for his keeping. He might not be able to cut it as a specialist batsman... I know what you mean by equally patchy, hence why I wrote the side mainly consisted of Sehwag, but I think NZ should not compare themselves to an equally crappy Indian side but look to compete with the better teams...

Sorry for the lack of sense in this comment.

Sidthegnomenator said...

I agree that NZ are often written off as a cricket side. Their test record isn't brilliant, but as a one-day side and in T20, I think they are pretty good.

Of course, they are Kiwis, so now I have to go shower.

sunny said...

You're suggesting to import Saffers to Kiwiland? Oh no Wes, we need our talent! :P

Jokes aside, the Blackaps are a lot I just have to sympathise with. They're such a vibrant unit filled with top blokes, but most of the time get shoved aside as some minnow team- not necessarily during play, but often in opinion.
The fact that Guptill is still around explains how much the Kiwis lack in batting strength.

Suhas said...

Yup I'm not too happy with BMac's decision either but if it brings out the best in his batting then fine. Perhaps it will mean we discover a better keeper-batsman than Hopkins too.

Bit of a coincidence that you mentioned the Saffer imports, but one of NZ's big South African "hopefuls", Johaan Myburgh (solid top order batsman), who was on the cusp of qualifying for NZ this season has decided to move to England to be with his wife. It's a "no news is good news" phase at the moment for the sheepies.

PS: Thanks for the publicity!