Thursday, 13 February 2014

The New Zealand Cricket Machine cranks it up a gear

Just as you thought NZ Cricket had settled on a winning formula winning 6 of last 9 ODI's and last three test matches, with a consistent team, they go and change things just a little.  Well more than a little really, say 18% of that winning team.  Taylor was always going to be out for one of the tests and this one it is.  So we see young Latham from Canterbury suddenly elevated into the national team.  And poor old Ish (Sodhi) finds himself carrying the drinks and replacement bats in Wellington.  So in comes another newcomer, Jimmy Neesham.

So what of this move?  Let's start with Neesham.  Historically New Zealand pitches have been well served with a four pronged pace attack and a part time spinner but that changed to a large degree with John Bracewell and Daniel Vettori.  Suddenly we had spinners that could do some damage, on their day.  And the Basin Reserve was always a spinners pitch days four and five.  So what happened today?  We learn that there will likely be a five pronged pace attack and some part time spin from Williamson.  Interesting to say the least.  The obvious reason is to capitalise on Inida's seeming penchant to be ill at ease with pace and bounce, which on first look will be evident for at least most of this test.  Of course the other reason was down to Sodhi being hit out of the bowling crease by the Indians at Auckland.

Ok head scratching time folks.  When was the last time New Zealand went into a test with Five quicks and no spinner? Yeah a toughie.

Now to Latham.  Very good choice.  Starred as an age level player, has had a stellar season with Canterbury this Plunket Shield season including a gutsy 241 not out (Batted through).  But is he suited to playing four?  I'm not a selector, a coach, nor a very good judge of a good cricketer (ok so I rooted for Rutherford for a year before he got selected) but I'd be tempted to bat Latham at three, utilising his skills as an opener.  Partly too because if the top three fall then Williamson (at four) and McCullum can steady the ship and not expose the tail.  It's a toughie.  I'm guessing we'll be batting first so look to the openers to toe the line and score early.  Remember Rutherford's debut 171 was on a relative green top at Dunedin so he's more suited to some movement, bounce and the ball coming onto the bat.

Ok that's a look at our guys.  Now the Indian Team.  Like the New Zealand team post captaincy issues, they have a lot on their plate.  In fact I'm guessing MS Dhomi's no show at the presser was more down to distractions that the current allegations against him.  He (and his team) are already in the firing line of loyal Indian supporters and officials.  South Africa was by and large a failure, and the team placed even further down than SA is dealing it to them.  Sure, a lot of the ODI's were close run affairs, but a loss is a loss and that affects the team dynamics.  New Zealand should know it well, and the fans, we suffered for some time.  Now India face that self same scrutiny.  I'm wagering this is some dissension in the ranks and some players will not be at their 100% best tomorrow or the next five days.

If the weather holds, five fit young bowlers will be heralded as heroes.

1 comment:

  1. Everyone else thought so too until the McCullum/Watling/Neesham show eventuated.