International relations

14 04 2011

The rescheduling of New Zealand’s upcoming tour of Zimbabwe has had unintended consequences for associate nation Ireland, who had previously been planning to tour Zimbabwe at that time.  Accusations that Zimbabwe are now refusing to play Ireland because that country ranks higher than them in the ODI tables or because Ireland will apparently not feature in the next World Cup are refuted by Zimbabwe Cricket:

“It is very unfortunate that recent media reports aim to portray Zimbabwe as unwilling to play against Ireland and insinuate that the reason is based on an attempt to ostracise them,” said [ZC managing director Ozias] Bvute. “Zimbabwe has suffered greatly from the politics of exclusion and we would not wish that on any one. Sport is about participation and increasing the numbers that participate to allow for the sustainability of any given activity.”

Zimbabwe’s original proposal, in October 2010, had been for Ireland to play three ODIs and a five-day unofficial Test in October/November 2011, as preparation for their New Year visit to New Zealand. However, on March 23, a fortnight prior to the Mumbai meeting in which Ireland’s World Cup fate was sealed, that plan was shelved after New Zealand themselves confirmed they would be touring Zimbabwe in that period, having already postponed their scheduled visit in May/June.

Warren Deutrom, Cricket Ireland’s chief executive, confirmed that Zimbabwe had not been at fault in the negotiations. “Ozias is absolutely correct,” he told ESPNcricinfo. “In the recent Chief Executives Committee meeting, he was extremely supportive of the associates and spoke out strongly in their favour. There is nothing sinister in this whatsoever. We were initially in conversation about travelling to Zimbabwe at the end of the year, but as one of the smaller Full Member nations, they have to wait for the bigger members to organise their own schedules. Simply, there was a clash between the time we wanted to come down, and the contractual obligations they are required to fulfil through the FTP.”

While ZC is hardly the most scrupulous of sporting bodies, it does look like they’ve got a point.  While it may irk some Irish cricket supporters, a tour by New Zealand, a full test-playing nation, is always going to be more important to Zimbabwe than one by an associate nation.


Three Hindi phrases

2 01 2011

The Herald’s Andrew Alderson, on the skills new New Zealand coach John Wright brought to the table during his five years as coach of India:

In his time with India, he claimed to have learned three phrases of Hindi – chalo (let’s go), jaldi (quickly) and A.C. bund (air conditioning off). Yet Hindi was the main dialect in the dressing room.

So during the Australian series of 2001 when India followed on 274 runs behind in the second test, he sent manager and former Indian opener Chetan Chauhan to patiently explain to Rahul Dravid in the mother tongue that he was being switched with VVS Laxman from three to six in the order. Dravid took the news well and the results were stunning. Laxman made 281, Dravid 180 and India became just the third test team in history to win following-on. They won the series and Wright’s employment was secure.

– NZ Herald, 2 January 2011

Playing with the big boys

1 10 2010

The Herald’s David Leggat points out that after a weak performance from Central Districts in South Africa, New Zealand better not take its slot in the Champions League Twenty20 tournament for granted; after all, New Zealand teams have yet to win a game:

…New Zealand are now, collectively, 0-from-6 at the Champions League.

It might not sound a big deal. After all, it’s not international cricket, it’s not even the heavily-hyped IPL.

But New Zealand need to watch out. When the people who make these decisions gather, they may well wonder at the merit of inviting representatives of a country which makes such a small impact.

Source: NZ Herald, 25 September 2010

Watch what you eat

16 02 2010

From Andy Bull’s Guardian cricket newsletter, The Spin:

The best stories are often the hardest to swallow: just take Ewen Thompson’s exploits last weekend. Unless you pay particular attention to cricket in New Zealand, you probably haven’t heard of Thompson. He is a 30-year-old left-arm seamer who plays for Central Districts. He has accrued all of two caps for his country – one Twenty20, one ODI.

Last Saturday Thompson bowled 10 straight overs in Central District’s one-day semi-final win against Canterbury. They cost 36 runs, and he did not take a wicket and could not manage a maiden, but boy did he suffer some.

After the match Thompson was rushed to the nearest hospital, put on a drip and taken in for emergency surgery. He had played the game even though he had a chunk of undigested doner kebab meat stuck in his oesophagus.

Thompson ate the kebab in question on the Friday before the match. “He is kicking himself a bit because he is supposed to watch what he eats,” pointed out Central Districts manager Lance Hamilton, “He was in a rush to eat before training and he scoffed down a kebab and obviously some meat got stuck.

“He pretty much didn’t complain too much throughout the day,” Hamilton related. “It wasn’t till later on that night when he looked awful that we took him to hospital and he ended up a drip all night because he was so dehydrated.”

“The kebab wasn’t blocking his airway, but we couldn’t get any food or water into him,” explained Hamilton. “We’ll see how he scrubs up between now and Wednesday’s match but he seems to think he will be right.”

The Spin can’t help but feel there is a moral in this story somewhere.

Source: Guardian, 16 February 2010

No first flush of youth

8 02 2010

Daniel Vettori tells the Herald that his two new ODI players, Peter Ingram and Andy McKay, may not be fresh young striplings but he’s looking forward to half a decade’s work from them:

Opener Ingram banged a rapid 69, left armer McKay took a couple of wickets. Neither is in the first flush of youth, aged 31 and 29 respectively. But that’s not a negative in terms of time running out before they’ve barely begun in the international game, says Vettori.

“Hopefully we can see another four or five years of them. They’ve got potential to have pretty sound international careers with a bit of longevity. Once you get to that age where you really understand your game it makes it easier taking the step up.”

Source: NZ Herald, 8 February 2010

Cricket can set you up for life

6 02 2010

Adrian Seconi of the Otago Daily Times talks to the Otago coach Mike Hesson about the rise and rise of Twenty20 cricket and the financial impact it’s having on players and the game.  Hesson, initially suspicious of the shortest form of the game, now sees it as an important tool in retaining young talent:

“If you are a promising youngster who is a good athlete and good at a number of sports, cricket is now a real option.  It can set you up for life, and without Twenty20 that was not really an option. We lost a lot of talented athletes to other sports.  In the past, if you were involved in cricket in New Zealand, you could make a living. But you couldn’t set yourself up for life after sport, whereas now, if you are an elite player and you do well, you certainly get extremely well remunerated”

Source: Otago Daily Times, 21 January 2010

Cleaning up New Zealand

1 02 2010

Bangladesh coach Jamie Siddons discusses his team’s chances in their current short tour of New Zealand (one T20, three ODIs and one test), the injury forcing bowler Mashrafe Mortaza out of the tour, and his plan to target Daniel Vettori, who he sees as his opponents’ main strategic advantage:

The last series involving both teams was played in Bangladesh, where New Zealand came out trumps again in the three ODIs (2-1) and clinched the two-Test series 1-0. Referring to that encounter, Siddons said his side’s top priority would be reducing the potential damage by Vettori and Ross Taylor. “Daniel has picked up wickets at the wrong times for us in Tests and one-dayers. He was the only thing stopping us from cleaning up New Zealand over there in Bangladesh the last time. If we can get on top of him and minimise his damage then I think we will go all right.

Source: Cricinfo, 1 February 2010