Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: Knights in White Flannel

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  • Kyle Matthews,

    NZ has only had three genuinely world class players- Bond, Vettori and Cairns

    Yeah. Fleming, the world class player who never quite showed it. Oram the world class player who breaks when playing the game. Bond, the world class player who hardly ever, and now maybe never will, play.

    Richardson was good though. Only really a good test player, not ODIs, which is unusual for NZ.

    McCullum is so great batting down the order it is a real shame to see him wasted in the top order.

    It's my understanding that McCullum is playing up the order at his demand.

    I suspect it wouldn't be allowed to happen if it was against the interests of the team if we didn't have a coach that seems to increasingly be a benchwarmer.

    It'd be nice to see them play Fulton at 3, then Ryder, Taylor, Flynn, McCullum, Vettori at Adelaide.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Littlewood,

    Yeah. Fleming, the world class player who never quite showed it. Oram the world class player who breaks when playing the game. Bond, the world class player who hardly ever, and now maybe never will, play.

    Richardson was good though. Only really a good test player, not ODIs, which is unusual for NZ.

    Good summary. Fleming was the total enigma though- maybe he ultimately sacrificed becoming a world class player to become a world-class captain. I know it's a cliche to mention this about him, but between the scores of 30 and 60, he made batting look so easy. And then all of a sudden he'd get out, invariably upwardly driving a ball to a fielder neatly positioned on the on-side. It happened with such regularity.

    Today, Tomorrow, Timaru • Since Jan 2007 • 445 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    And those slashes straight to the gully fielder.

    If he'd had some sort of hard-wiring which only allowed him to play in the V, he might have scored slower, but his average would be over 40 I'm sure.

    The thing that annoyed me most about Fleming is that sometimes he'd come out to the wicket and you could just tell that he was going to have a big one. That innings in that shortened match at the world cup in South Africa - against South Africa? Took the game by the scruff of the neck and said "I'm going to win this one".

    If he'd done that successfully twice as often...

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Chapman,

    If we're being totally honest, since the retirement of Crowe, NZ has only had three genuinely world class players- Bond, Vettori and Cairns.

    No specialist batsman, which probably makes all the difference.

    Three world-class players in 10 odd years might not sound that many, but – without doing any analysis – I reckon most other teams haven't been that much more lucky. Also, since Crowe's retirement, I don't think we've done that badly. We've been nowhere near our eighties' peak, but we have recovered from our nineties' depression. We've slumped significantly in the last few years, but I reckon that has more to do with the sub-world-class players we've lost in that time.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2008 • 135 posts Report Reply

  • LegBreak,

    Fleming was the total enigma though- maybe he ultimately sacrificed becoming a world class player to become a world-class captain

    Spot on.

    Fleming, for most of his career, sacrificed himself by batting higher than he should have (he even got test centuries opening) for the sake of his team.

    Something he never got enough credit for.

    The best No. 5 we never had.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1162 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen,

    If he'd had some sort of hard-wiring which only allowed him to play in the V, he might have scored slower, but his average would be over 40 I'm sure.

    It's actually a couple of decimal points over :-O

    Auckland • Since Apr 2008 • 47 posts Report Reply

  • Stewart,

    I had high hopes for Ross Taylor when he first came on the scene but overall he has disappointed.

    Could this be because of the coaching/management stifling his natural game, or is it because he is not quite capable of making the necessary step-up to test level?

    I had so wanted him to be a rock in the early middle-order, regularly getting 70 runs and anchoring the innings.
    Oh well, normal service has been resumed.

    Te Ika A Maui - Whakatane… • Since Oct 2008 • 577 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Just to date me almost to a year, it was the 1992 CWC that sparked my interest in the game. A vertiable fairytale of a tournament. Not just because of the victories, but the nature of them- whether it was the sublime batting of Crowe, the pinch-hitting of Greatbatch or the bafflingly miserly bowling attack of Larsen, Harris, Watson and Patel. Everything just came into place...until a chubby Pakistani called Inziman decided to spoil things.

    Indeed, I loved that tournament - dreadful uniforms aside. It was years before I really forgave Inzamam for that performance.

    Greatbatch was almost surreal. He got pushed up to open specifically to whack shit out of it, and he seemed able to do that every game.

    And I did love that slow bowling, watching teams' run rates slow to a crawl as we choked the life out of them. There was some blinding fielding, I remember a Patel catch in the deep... For a while in the late nineties, while we weren't so great at batting or bowling you could still rely on our fielding to save about fifteen or twenty runs.

    It's actually a couple of decimal points over :-O

    40.06 for tests. He was never an ODI number three, but then neither was anyone else.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    New coach for BLACK CAPS

    Well, that was quick. Mott only pulled away from the poisoned chalice this morning.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Meanwhile, Braces on the 'where should McCullum bat' conundrum

    It's not about going with the populous decision it is about going with the right decision and Brendon McCullum is a class act.

    From this moment forward, I only ever intend to make populous decisions.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    From this moment forward, I only ever intend to make populous decisions.

    I've made a few of them.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    I've made a few of them.

    Heh - I'm pretty sure that's the last videogame I've ever played.

    (Recently I picked up a computer magazine - also the first in 15 years or so - and on the DVD along with the other fluff it had the full version of a game franchise that was turning ten, so they were giving away the original for free. And I thought hey, a ten year old game will still be newer than anything else I've played.)

    (Damn, I should stay in more.)

    (So, the Black Caps will be coached by Moles, hey? I smell some horrible jokes on that if he's still in charge next time we tour England.)

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    I smell some horrible jokes on that if he's still in charge next time we tour England

    That's just not a game a team with Ryan Sidebottom in it should be playing.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • LegBreak,

    Congratulations to 4th Choice Andy.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1162 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    That's just not a game a team with Ryan Sidebottom in it should be playing.

    Yes, although when our crowds trying to crack jokes about him, the results were bone-chillingly unfunny.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Jake Pollock,

    I've made a few of them.

    Those floods can be very useful for washing out a test if defeat is otherwise imminent.

    Raumati South • Since Nov 2006 • 489 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    Argghh Inzamam - the memory still makes me shudder.

    My favourite NZ team comes from the time of Coney as player and as captain. During that time we had two players of genuine class (Hadlee and Crowe). The rest of the team would never had been picked in an Australian side. But they did what I love about really good teams, they each played their role above and beyond their ability. They set aside personal glory shots for the good of the team. And as a result they trusted each other.

    For the last 10-15 years I've seen that will to perform for the team disappear and with it the trust that the other guys will do their best.

    We don't have any players of real international class in the side (we could argue about Vettori), but they are good and sometimes better than good. But they don't have that magic that a real team has.

    Without wishing to pick on him but McCullum exemplifies it, he is more interested in his chance to get more runs batting higher in the order than in what might be best for the team.

    Really great coaches get average players to perform at a higher level. And just one comment about our current coach. He stated that he wanted to focus on our ODI performance and that if tests suffered because of that then so be it. Economics demand that ODIs are the priority. So lets judge Bracewell on how much he improved the ODI performance, he started in 2003
    2002 rating 95 8th
    2003 rating 97 8th
    2004 rating 120 2nd
    2005 rating 111 4th
    2006 rating 112 4th
    2007 rating 112 3rd
    2008 rating 113 5th
    from ICC-cricket December rating (except for 08 which is November).

    So Bracewell did better than 8th. Good luck to Moles he only has to do better than 5th :).

    cheers
    Bart

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Those floods can be very useful for washing out a test if defeat is otherwise imminent.

    Oh, if I could command the weather we'd never lose another test match, no question about that.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Parks,

    We don't have any players of real international class in the side (we could argue about Vettori),

    Yeah Vettori's pretty close. A very respected spinner, very good bat in his 8 position, and a good captain who will likely improve. But we will really miss Flemming in the batting line-up, and especailly Shane Bond in the bowling department.

    Wellington • Since May 2007 • 1164 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Parks,

    [from that link]In a line-up that otherwise consists mainly of bowlers who specialise in keeping the runs in check, Bond provides the firepower that is so critical to a good one-day side. Among bowlers who've bowled at least 2000 balls, Bond's strike-rate of a wicket every 26.5 balls is the best, even better than the likes of Brett Lee, Shoaib Akhtar and Allan Donald.

    Wellington • Since May 2007 • 1164 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Greatbatch was almost surreal. He got pushed up to open specifically to whack shit out of it, and he seemed able to do that every game.

    Actually he didn't get pushed up for that purpose at all.

    The plan at the first match against Australia was for the other opener (Larson?, kinda pudgy guy) to smack the ball around, and Greatbatch to play through the innings and provide the anchor.

    When they got out on the field things kinda worked out the other way and they stuck with GB hitting the ball everywhere for the rest of the tournament.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    My guess is there is nobody in NZ more frustrated by Shane Bond's failure to ever play more than one test without an injury than Shane Bond.

    It was kind of sad that we spent so many years waiting for him to come back from injury. It always annoyed me that commentators would talk about the team as if he was part of it, when sadly he never really was.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    The plan at the first match against Australia was for the other opener (Larson?, kinda pudgy guy)

    Rod Latham, I think?

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Yeah, that sounds right.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

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