Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Understatement of the season

The New Zealand cricket team was predictably thrashed by South Africa last night. Having watched an improved second innings batting performance, especially from Martin Guptill who fought hard for 48, from Dean Brownlie and from BJ Watling, it was galling to see New Zealand lose its last five wickets for just eight runs as Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn ran through the tail.

This series has been a mismatch from the time that Vernon Philander dismissed Guptill in the second over at Newlands. And new skipper Brendon McCullum has acknowledged that; the Herald reports:

New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum insisted the end of the second test against South Africa was not the darkest day of his international career.
However it's hard to think of one worse, as New Zealand's series came to a predictable and thumping 2-0 series defeat against the world's best team.
Having been dismissed for 211, 35 minutes before lunch on the fourth day at St George's Park, they lost by an innings and 193 runs - to follow the innings and 27 runs at Cape Town a week earlier.
"No, I wouldn't go to that extreme," McCullum, in his first series as test captain, said.
"Obviously it's incredibly disappointing and hurts a lot to suffer a 2-0 loss and in the fashion we have.
"But the acknowledgement of the different class between the teams is important for perspective. Yes we weren't good enough and didn't front up when we needed to, but we were also placed under tremendous pressure by a team at the very top of their game, and that should provide some learning opportunities for us.
'Yes, it should hurt but we've got a pretty good blueprint of how the best team in the world goes about its cricket."

Yes Brendon; it has been "incredibly disappointing". As much as it's been a learning opportunity for you and your players, we wonder if you actually have the capacity or the desire to take the opportunity, and to learn from it. We wonder if your coaches have the ability to get you to un-learn bad habits, and substitute improvements.

You see Brendon, many of us back home have watched cricket for more years than any of you guys, your coach included have even trodden the planet. Few of us profess to be of international standard, but we love cricket with a passion, and it grieves us to see the state of the current team.

You see Brendon; it's "incredibly disappointing" for us to see New Zealand capitulate as it has three times in the last four innings. We are the ones who indirectly pay your salary. If we stop turning up to games or even stop watching the games on Sky TV, NZC's revenue streams will drop away, and whatever a rosy picture your Players' Association tries to paint, NZC will run out of money. At the moment, we're wondering if that might just be the kindest thing that could happen.

We're grumpy as we write this epistle this morning. We've stayed up and watched the pre-lunch session the last two nights, hoping against hope that the sleep we'd lose with having to get up early for work would be offset by some good cricket, and some gutsy performances. We've seen glimpses from a few players, but by and large it's been the same old same old.

We'll leave it at that for now. But we have some thoughts on the way forward that we'll share when we are a little less grumpy.


Ozymandias said...

Totally agree with your article.

I have also watch each of the first sessions hoping that something 'amazing' will happen.

McCullum seems to have his head in the clouds when it comes to his own ability and the the magnitude of this result.

All we ever get from him is PR spin. The guy should work in the government when he retires because he would be a natural at making something rubbish look rosy.

On a funny note I was playing cricket with my boys the other day and following a mis-field from my 6 year old, my 4 year old says "you are fielding like a Black Cap".

Keeping Stock said...

Kids eh Ozy; you can't hide the truth from them...

Siena said...

I heard Brendon McCullum on One News this evening produce the euphemism of 2013: "... we came up a bit short".

Where I come from, leaders resign gracefully when their team lacks adequate character or when it loses by embarrassing margins. The same applies to coaches. This is not a time for trying to turn the tide by using soothing words.