Monday, 10 March 2014

Riding The High LIne - New Zealand Cricket in Perspective

Is it too early to say New Zealand Cricket has turned a corner?

New Zealand has taken part in 23 Test match "series" since 2008.  In that time they won 10 tests (2 x Bangladesh (1 Home and 1 away), 1 x Pakistan at home, 1 versus Sri Lanka away, 2 versus Zimbabwe - one away one home, (note both were one off tests), 1 memorable one against Aussie in Hobart, 2 recently against West Indies, and 1 against the just departed Indians.

In that time also, we have won 6 series but that is weighted by those aforementioned one off tests.  Series wins over Bangladesh away (1-0 in a 2 test series), Bangladesh, a one off match at home, and the two key ones, 2-0 (3) over Windies at home 2013, and India at home 2014 1-0 (2).

But this is where the stats get interesting. There have been only 7 x 3 test match series in that time, 14 x 2 test match series, and the rest one off matches.  This should be a weapon for New Zealand cricket fans to badger NZC to petition ICC for more 3 match series.  Currently the top few are sometimes playing five match series, always playing three matches and very rarely play less than three.  The crumbs are being gobbled up by those below those big teams, including our national team.  It's fair to say that status quo will stand, but if the future tours programme is to go ahead successfully everyone has to play from the same plate.  Sure have your five match series, but not at the expense of world cricket as a whole.  By the way my view on rankings points from five match series is only the first three apply to rankings.

But off the bandwagon and back to New Zealand cricket and turning a corner.  It's fair to say we have been
dealt some harsh cards recently in the make up of the team (or lack thereof).  The appointment of a new coach and captain, selections stable and belief have seen this bunch of luckless wannabees turn into a very adept unit.  No point in singling out key players, the team as a whole is doing the job, but fair to say they now have a unit that not only competes against higher opposition, but also beats them.  The true test of how well they will go further is their overseas tours to Windies and Pakistan this year, and then the tricky Sri Lanka at home next summer.

Test cricket in New Zealand has had new life breathed into it.  Just witness the stupendous crowd at The Basin to see McCullum make history!  Now it's time to ride that wave of support, get rid of one off tests and two match series, lets play proper cricket properly.


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