Groundhog Day

Yes, it’s been a while since the last post. I’m actually kind of wondering if anyone will actually read this, which is sort of liberating. I could probably talk about anything. Movies, recreational drugs, quantum physics (IT’S THE STRINGS! DAMN YOU, FEYNMAN!) the possibilities are limitless.

The only reason I would have to do that, instead of talking about cricket, the game I love and adore and which is the hallowed pursuit of noblemen and kings, is that NEW ZEALAND ARE FUCKING LOSING THE PLOT AGAIN.

Ahem.

I always swore I’d never be one of those awful people that does nothing but hurl abuse at their chosen team when the chips are down, but, really, New Zealand? You bowled Australia out for 231 and still managed to collapse? It’s Daniel Vettori’s 100th Test, but apparently a dream Day 1 is all he’s allowed on such an august occasion, before it’s back to the usual business of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

It’s always the spinners, too. I’m currently in Bangalore, and everywhere there are large billboards with Rahul Dravid’s face staring down, practically ordering us to follow the Royal Challenge, as the BRC’s IPL campaign is apparently now called. Anil Kumble is on a few as well, and as happy as it makes me to see him get some glory after all those years of being the overlooked stalwart, it’s an equally sharp reminder of how good he is and was, if we’d only been allowed to see it. I’m reading John Wright’s Indian Summers, which I highly recommend, incidentally, and in it he reiterates what the rest of us have known for a long time: that Kumble was underused and underrated at what should have been his peak years. Vettori certainly doesn’t have the problem of being underused – if they used him any more they’d probably actually physically break him – but he’s never allowed to be as effective as he should be as a spinner, being brought on ludicrously early after the quicks have cocked up the job with the new ball, and then inevitably trudging out again to bat the team out of trouble at number 6 or 8. New Zealand have done their best to wring as much as they can out of Captain Dan, but it’s hard to shake the feeling that someday we’re all going to look back on these few years and wonder why the hell they had to do it in the first place. It’s a team sport, gents. Ross Taylor’s doing his best, but there need to be 9 more of you not being bench decorations for this whole ‘winning matches’ thing to work.

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  1. #1 by Arya on 30/03/2010 - 10:42 am

    Interestin….u suport d Kiwis?! i do luv the black, but the top order is often there jus for decoration. there was a time when batsmen numbers 6-11 wud play the whole game: bat, bowl and field, while the others merely brought a pretty face to a slick outfit! but then, the heart wants what the heart wants eh? great piece btw, n i do hope u write on recreational drugs and quantum physics someday. maybe i mite begin to understand the latter a lil afta tht! 🙂

  2. #2 by Geebs on 30/03/2010 - 9:09 pm

    Ross wouldn’t have scored a century, if things went Aussie way. It was awful to read the commentary on how ugly his innings was at the very beginning. He looked like he was playing for the RCB in NZ.

    Anyway, Martin’s a done deal. Sorry, but Mr.Guppy Two toes or whatever should be released to play domestic for sometime. He’s not indispensable ALREADY!!

    Hate to see NZ lose this test, but no matter how much I insincerely hope otherwise, they’re gonna get bowled out with another 200 to get. If they don’t and actually manage to draw, I will take that as the greatest gift NZ cricket gave to their fans.

  3. #3 by Goro on 31/03/2010 - 12:00 am

    As a Pak supporter, it’s refreshing to see it happen to someone else for a change. Sweet, sweet schadenfreude.

    Inevitable consequences of kiwi-love aside, I dare you to convincingly incorporate QM, crack and cricket in a single column.

    Please?

  4. #4 by Suhas on 31/03/2010 - 4:43 pm

    Agree with your short assessment of Indian Summers. Good insights from a guy whose contribution to Indian cricket is almost as underrated as Kumble’s.

    And yeah, it’s more heartbreak than usual for the kiwi fan these days. I put this regular ‘losing the plot’ down to the fact that they simply don’t get to play enough cricket against the top teams these days. Five to ten years ago, the domestic scene was equally shite but they played a good amount of test cricket and ‘A’ tours over the year, which enabled guys like Vettori and Fleming to grow as cricketers.

    Which is why I kind of disagree with Gebbs on Guptill. I am frustrated by his underperforming, but I think he’d be better off learning the hard way at the international level than piling on meaningless runs at the first-class level.

  5. #5 by duckingbeamers on 12/04/2010 - 7:22 am

    Nice Feynman reference.

  6. #6 by donthaveaclue on 06/08/2010 - 12:28 pm

    Loved the reference to shiny disco balls for those who complain about test cricket. Got here through cwb’s brilliant site. Great blog, especially the background about not being fanatical about any team. It has to be about the sport. Keep up the good work!

  7. #7 by Sesha on 24/11/2010 - 8:48 am

    reina, why not hit the keyboard on India’s Kiwi-bashing? We are waiting …

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