Friday, September 28, 2007

Time Travel

I heard today on the news that some Australian scientist has come out and declared that time travel is possible. All that is required is trillions of dollars so that we can travel at 3/4 the speed of light. Interesting!

It got me thinking. I don't think time travel is possible theologically. It is one of two things that to me science will never resolve. Time travel requires unravelling the cosmic plan of God in terms of this universe and planet at least. Only God himself stands outside of time. Whether he can or would choose to move back in time is questionable. Whether he can is not to say he is not omnipotent; rather it is saying he may have limited himself in this regard to allow human history to play out i.e. he has subjected himself to the rule that he and no other agency can travel back. As the 'Back to the Future' movies demonstrates, to do so could possibly disrupt the time-space continuum and cause history to be rewritten. Would even God do this? Especially, when we consider predestinationary and foreknowledge texts which point to a world that in one sense is set (I don't think this preclufdes our freedom unlike a harsh Calvinist). So, they can spend their trillions if they like, attain extraodinary speeds, but I don't think they can do it! I hope in the interests of the poor that thye do not spend the millions trying!

The other thing science I don't believe will be able to do is create life or raise the genuinely dead. This requires sovereignty over life which is God's domain seen in creation, the revivications of the Bible attributed to God and not the agents (Elijah, Elisha, Jesus, Peter), the resurrection of Christ, and of course the future resurrection of the dead. Humanity is limited! Some stuff is God's stuff.

However, it is interesting to consider different viewpoints; check out http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/time/. It has Einstein's view with Sagan's and others. See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_travel and http://www.lifesci.sussex.ac.uk/home/John_Gribbin/timetrav.htm.

What do you think?

On Second Thoughts!

What a performance by Tonga. Sensational! Brilliant! South Africa got out of jail. It was the South African second team I suppose, so it doesn't mean a lot in one sense. On the other hand, Tonga exposed weaknesses in the South Africans.
Really NZ should win this world cup. England are average. Ireland are aweful. France are average as Argentina proved. South Africa and Australia can be good. But, if NZ plays to their potential, does not have a shocker, they should not lose this one. But we have said this before.
I really do hope they win. What sort of reception will Graham Henry and the team get if they do not! They will be hammered mercilessly. Talkback will be a free for all! I hope they win too because they have been so much better than the world for 4 years, it would be greatly sad if they do not.
I will go out on a limb. I think they will.

Kudos to Graham Henry

I was listening to Radio Sport today and I though Brendon Telfer made a brilliant point. He suggested that Graham Henry, Wayne Smith and Steve Hanson could not do much more to help NZ win the cup. Once they hit the quarters and it is knock out, it is no longer up to them but the players. I think he is so right. When they go onto the field, apart from a few substitutions, it is not the coaches any more but the players.

This got me thinking about John Mitchell and John Hart. Why were they so castigated. Especially Hart; it was the players going to sleep in 1999 that lost us that match, not Hart. In 2003 one could criticise MacDonald being picked, but it was the players who played so poorly and without vitality.

We need to mature as a nation and accept what happens. So I thought I would be the first to get in.

Regardless of the results at the world cup, Kudos to Graham Henry. He could do no more. They are brilliantly prepared. Some of us think that their combinations may not be quite what they could be. But the truth is, what a great three years! Awesome! We have been the best and no doubt are the best. Whether we win now depends on the players. It also depends on the other teams. Will one of these teams play the game of their lives e.g. France 1999? It also depends on the refs?

So I just want to say, well done Graham Henry. Regardless of the result, I honour you as a brilliant coach. I also pay tribute to John Mitchell and John Hart; hard luck, well done.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Iran, Nuclear Weapons, the Place of Israel in the Purposes of God

More good news! Iran is threatening to retaliate if they are bombed because of their nuclear potential (see http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/2/story.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=10465423). I was watching Triangle a few weeks ago, and a group of American commentators were not speaking about if the US would attack Iran, but when. What a mess the middle east is? Unbelievable.

This brings me to a question that I can't really adequately answer. Why is it that the nations who are angry with Iran are allowed nuclear weapons but Iran is not? I do not want Iran to have nuclear weapons, it could be a disaster. But neither do I want the US, Russia, Israel, France and others to have them either. I don't trust any of them with them!

This also raises another question. It is obvious that the NT teaches that salvation is found in Christ and Christ alone. Israel in terms of salvation is not an issue. Christ is now 'Israel'; salvation-history is centred on him. The land is not a factor in the Christian era in terms of salvation.

However there is still another question i.e. is the land still the locus of eschatological events. That is, will the end of the world culminate around Jerusalem and the nation of Israel? Was the reconstitution of Israel in 1948 and recapture of Jerusalem in 1967 then eschatologically significant?

It is a tough question that requires intense analysis of a huge range of OT prophetic passages and the Olivet Discourse, the Little Apocalypse (Mk 13; Mt 24; Lk 21). I think I better look into this.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Destiny Launch, Christian Parties!

I watched the news tonight. I was thrilled to see another attempt at a Christian party! Destiny are going into bed with Gordon Copeland to form a party to stand for Christian values. The whole thing turned into a disaster. Brian Tamaki announced the disolution of Destiny and the formation of a new as yet unnamed Christian party. He announced that Richard Lewis would again lead it, but with a yet to be accounced leader. Meanwhile Independent MP Gordon Copeland was interviewed admitting he was totally surprised that Richard Lewis would be join leader. Unbelievable! Do such people not talk to each other. Good solid Christian communication!

Copeland's response was classic: 'I think I can probably live with that, but the reality is that I have got five years of parliamentary experience!' What a vote of confidence for Lewis! What a start of a political partnership! What a witness to grace and Christian relationship. He then went on in a totally condescending way to say, 'So from my point of view quite a lot of mentoring will have to happen, there will have to be quite a lot of guidance given to Richard as he comes into this new party, but I'm prepared at least to make the effort to see that happen.'

Far out! So who is the leader? Are these guys on the same page? What page is it? Page one of, 'how to launch a political party for dummies!' Or better, 'how to launch a Christian political party for dummies'. Or better again, 'how to be dummies!'

Then Lewis responded saying that Copeland shouldn't be surprised because the decision was made weeks ago. Why then didn't they make a press announcement together without Bishop Brian involved. What is Bishop Brian even doing there? Who is the real leader? A herald article notes that Tamaki will be on the 15 person 'national advisory council'. It seems he may stand himself.

Lewis also said, 'we are in an early teething stage!' We hadn't noticed!

Interestingly the ruling council is supposedly inclusive of Anglican, Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist, Salvation Army, Evangelical, Pentecostal and Charismatic churches who do not speak for their churches but as individuals.

Anywho! As I blogged a week or two ago, what is a Christian party? I am certain this is not the start Jesus would want! What will make them Christian. Being anti-gay? Being pro-family? Being advocates for the poor? Being advocates for world peace? For reduction in global warming? I have my doubts that they will achieve much at all! If they make the 5% threshold I will be stunned.

Still good for them. I imagine that they feel God is leading them to do this. I pray that they will become united and stand for Christ in grace and love and the full breadth of the gospel. May God be glorified through them.

Mother Teresa Faith?

Have you heard about the Mother Teresa doubts? A book is coming out which reflects on her letters which speak of her doubts. She was certainly a Thomas. Check it out? Some Protestants doubt her as a Catholic nun. I never have, if she had doubts she is like us all at one point of another, we all have doubts. For me, she lived the faith as few have. In response to Jesus' call, she went to those who Jesus called us to go to, the dying, the marginalised, the untouchable. In terms of ministry to the poor and marginalised, I am not aware of anyone who has sought to walk in Jesus' shoes as Teresa did. But do her doubts cause you to doubt her legacy? Check out this little article.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/topic/story.cfm?c_id=500818&objectid=10459804

Is Roy Cropper Gay?

Some people are brought up on the Bible or something edifying. I was brought up on Coronation Street. It is weird, but when I hear the theme music it actually soothes my soul! Man that is a worry. It is tough to admit it actually. Anyway, the program has an interesting ethical question. Let me explain.

There is a character called Roy Cropper who owns a cafe. There is another character called Hayley. Now Hayley was originally Harold and became Hayley. Now Roy met Hayley and was attracted to her (him), not actually knowing she was a he. In time she/he let Roy know that she was a he but that she was off to get a sex change operation. Roy went through a terrible time of angst before deciding to support her. He recovered as a she and then they moved in together. They eventually 'married' with a civil union.

Clearly Roy was not 'gay' when he thought Hayley was a woman. Then he realised she was a 'he' and then 'he' became a 'she'. So the question is, 'is Roy gay'? My family is divided. Some say he is not gay because he is in fact attracted to a woma and Hayley is now a woman. Others believe he is gay because he is in a sexual relationship with a man.

What do you think?

Tapu Misa

I have only recently become aware of the herald comments of Tapu Misa who 'came out' in the Herald the other day, declaring herself to be a born again Christian who realised that her mother was right. She has a great turn of phrase. She comments in her second article that her 'coming out' article excited more email responses than anything she has written in the last 2 years. That is good news to me. We need to pray for her in her ministry of being a voice into the world. Read the articles, they are really encouraging.


http://www.nzherald.co.nz/topic/story.cfm?c_id=191&objectid=10462975

Monday, September 17, 2007

Fear Fall, Power Surge and more

I went to Rainbow's End the other day with my wife and kids, a family day out. Cost a cool $200 plus food (which we took) etc. It was a combined Father's Day and wife's birthday. We had a ball. Did the Fear Fall! We were dared to by the kids. What a buzz. For a second or two I thought I was dead! Hehehe. The feeling of relief was palpable as it slowed. Now this is a big thing for my wife and I; we are both a bit freaked out by heights. But it was a buzz. I recommend it. Challenge yourselves! I didn't think much of the power surge, it was fun, but the nausea was a worry. Rainbow's End needs a makeover too! The roller coaster is fun, but far too short. Anyway, the point is, challenge yourselves to ensure you are alive!

On another note; TV today is rubbish!!!!!!!!

The state of Bible Knowledge Today!

If there is anyone out there who reads this blog and is in my Intro to the NT class at BCNZ, please don't take this personally.

The truth is I have just marked a set of content tests examining the student's knowledge of the Pauline epistles. There were 30 questions all with four possible answers (multiple choice). The students had 4 weeks to prepare and were told what was involved. Read through the Paulines, take note of the themes and remember where stuff is found. In class I have told them that Hebrews is not one of these; no Hebrew's scholar has argued for Pauline authorship in the last 50 years. To make the test interesting and to narrow down options I threw a few obviously false alternatives like 3 John, 2 Peter, Jude, Hebrews, Acts etc. I also threw in 'Elijah' as one options.

Would you believe it, but a HUGE number of students chose these options! I am in a state of shock. No one got them all right, the best mark was 27 and most were between 16-23. I would have thought that if I was given this test before I started bible college study I would have got between 15-20. I would have thought many would have done so.

What is going on? Firstly, how is it that BCNZ students come to college with such a poor biblical knowledge? Secondy, how is it that even when given clear directions as to how to study, many cannot do it? It seems, they don't know how to read the text!

My reading of the situation is that the NZ evangelical church is not built on the basic idea of teaching and knowing the Word as it was. Expository preaching is out the door, replaced by Christian wisdom for living. Small groups are built on relationship and not on bible study. Many I think have never studied the bible and don't realise how important it is.

We have to raise the standard. If we call ourselves Christian, we should know our book which tells our story better than any book in the world. We should read life through it. We need to know it so we can check out the rubbish that many are propounding today, like prosperity teaching. We need to know it to pass it on so that the faith stays strong. For BCNZ students, knowing the text of Scripture, the big story, its background and how to put it together; is foundational! Every other area of study including every arm of theology, the world and life itself is to be read in the light of God revealed in and through his written word; we know the Living Word through the written word.

So if you read this; learn the story! Come on BCNZ; we should lead the nation in this!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Evidence: South Africa are the team to beat

In March this year I wrote (http://sportdivine.blogspot.com/2007_03_01_archive.html) that the final of the world cup will be NZ vs South Africa. I wrote, 'If this is the final it will be tumultuous, aggressive and incredibly close. I think the South Africans will be formidable if they get there and it will be anyones game. I do believe unless terrible injury intervenes (or food poisoning etc), NZ will win this one.'

I still think this, but the demolition of England today by SA 36-0 is evidence, SA are good, really good! I can't see them being stopped before the final. NZ will have to be at the absolute top of their game to compete and perhaps win.

Mind you, it is not clear how good SA are in light of the utter ineptitude of England. They have no pace to the breakdown, lumbering gorilla's in the forward pack, have no penetration and pace out wide. Robinson is a danger from broken play, but one man can do so much. So perhaps it was more about England's weakness. If so, then the northern teams are not a threat!

But it is tracking toward my prediction except for one thing, this could be the start of an era of greatness for SA. They have the makings of a great team.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Are the AB's Chokers?

It is going around, particularly in the northern hemisphere, thatthe All Blacks are chokers. It is believed that they will choke again this time. On the face of it, this appears to have some truth. We won the first world cup brilliantly and have not won since despite dominating world rugby through that period. So is it fair to call them chokers? This can only be assessed by looking at each effort.

Well we can say for sure we did not choke in 1987; we won superbly without being threatened.

Neither did we choke in 1991. It was clear in 1989-91 that the All Blacks were on the decline and Australia on the rise. We lost that 1991 semi because they were better; a great forward pack, sensational inside backs and the brilliant Campese; whereas the NZ team was aging and past its best.

In 1995, but for food poisoning, we would have won that world cup, and won it well. The 1996 result put that into perspective, as NZ stormed through SA. It wasn't choking that lost that cup, but sickness.

In 1999 we did not choke but we lost because the AB's went off the boil and allowed an absolutely brilliant French side on the day to tear them apart. It was not choking but complacency as the AB's felt they had it won. Looking back, the Australians too were superior that year. They had a good forward pack, brilliant backs. We had a lot of weaknesses; few of that team are looked upon as great players and there were holes through the team. We were just not that good.

In 2003 again we did not choke but we were not as good as we think. Poor selections and a team that was not as well led and lacked experience lost to a battle-hardened clevely led Australian team.

NZ are not chokers then. They have proved this again and again on tours of SA, winning tri-nations, grand slams etc. It is demeaning to the teams that beat them to say this. The question for me is not, will we choke? Rather, it is, are we good enough? It looks good at this stage, but the South Africans and Australians are formidable opposition.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Dixon, Federer, Woods and Powell

Far out. What a day in sport? Firstly, we have kiwi Scott Dixon running out of gas 200m from the line in the final race of the season in the IndeCar series! How can it be? Now I am not a petrol head, but this has to be someone's fault and it shouldn't have happened! Poor Scott! But dang it, someone should pay!

Then there is the brilliance of Federer; his 12th Grand Slam title! This is amazing. The guy is a freak!

Then there is Woods again winning, this time coming from behind with brilliant putting. We live in an age with 2 of the greatest sportsmen in history; what a privilege!

What about Powell; 9.74 100m! Far out, brilliant! Or is it? He lost the World Champs 100m to Tyson Gay the other day. He seems to choke. True! But he is fast! That is quick. Then again, is he on something?

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Cricket Combined Stats 2: Bowlers

A couple of blogs ago I discussed the best batsmen of the modern period. What about the bowlers.

Match winners get a swag of 10 wicket match bags and 5 wicket innings bags.

Most 10 Wicket Bags
1. Muralitharan (20)
2. Warne (10)
3. Hadlee (9)
4. Kumble (8)
5. Lillee (7)
6. I. Khan; Underwood (6)
8. Younis; Akram; Akhtar (5)

Most 5 Wicket Bags
1. Muralitharan (68)
2. Hadlee (41)
3. Warne (38)
4. McGrath (36)
5. Younis (35)
6. Kumble (35)
7. Botham (27)
8. Ambrose (26)
9. Khan, Dev (24)

The stars stand out here; the two spinners Murali and Warne with Kumble and then Underwood in behind. The quickies Hadlee, Lillee, McGrath, Younis, Khan, Akram, Ambrose, Dev and Botham.

The really great bowlers have superb strike rates (balls per wicket). Here we see Akhtar and Younis again with Donald and Lee there. Here Younis really figures in combination with his great 5 wicket and 10 wicket bag stats. Others who are starting to figure prominently are McGrath and Akram.

Best Strike Rate
1. Akhtar; Younis (36.6)
3. Donald (40.0)
4. Lee (40.2)
5. Agarker (41.3)
6. Ntini (43.2)
7. Gough 43.5)
8. McGrath, Akram (44.5)
9. Bishop (45.6)

Best Economy Rate
1. Gibbs (1.99)
2. Underwood, Bedi (2.18)
4. Statham (2.33)
5. Trueman (2.61)
6. Ambrose (2.65)
7. Chatfield (2.76)
8. Hadlee (2.77)
9. Muralitharan (2.83)
10. Walsh (2.88)

Trueman enters the stats here. Ambrose and Hadlee of the quicks above. The spinners Gibbs, Underwood and Bedi are amazingly parsemonious. Murali is hard to get away. One of Walsh's secrets is seen here.

Traditionally the bowlers with the best average are seen as the greatest. There is good reason for this, as their stats bring together their economy with their wicket taking. Here we see the greatness of the quicks Trueman, Donald, Hadlee, Ambrose, Marshall, Holding, Lillee and Akram. The only spinner to feature is Murali.

Best Average
1. Trueman (21.56)
2. McGrath (21.76)
3. Muralitharan (21.84)
4. Donald (22.04)
5. Hadlee (22.10)
6. Ambrose (22.11)
7. Marshall (22.71)
8. Holding (22.84)
9. Lillee (23.22)
10. Akram (23.57)

The ability to take wickets in a pure sense cannot be disregarded.

Most Wickets
1. Muralitharan (1157)
2. Warne (1001)
3. McGrath (949)
4. Akram (916)
5. Kumble (903)
6. Pollock (801)
7. Younis (789)
8. Walsh (746)
9. Vaas (703)
10. Dev (687)

Here the two spinners Murali and Warne stand out. The quicks who have featured throughout McGrath, Akram and Younis stand out.

Putting it together:
Clearly two spinners dominate, Murali and Warne. If we pick the best one it depends a little on how we regard Murali's action. I have a problem here because despite all the decisions of the IRB etc, I can't help feeling there is a problem. How does one bowl a leggie with an off-spinners action without bending the arm? On the other hand, Warne bowls the world's most difficult bowling art; leg-spin bowling. So for me he gets the number one slot.

The best quickies I will not try and pick out; but will go for a group. These include Hadlee, McGrath, Akram, Younis, Lillee, Trueman, Ambrose, Donald, Khan, Holding and Marshall.

AB's and France

Great start! Wow, that first 20 was freakish! Italy were blown away. Carter was great, McCaw sensational, Williams brilliant! Way to go.

Now the French! Well it is actually no surprise; Argentina has had the wood on France for a few years now. France may still top the pool. Let's say Ireland beat Argentina and France beat Ireland, all eminently possible; it may still see France top the pool.

What this has done to me is made the last 3 games fearsome for NZ. If we hit France in the quarters that is very possible; then we will have Aussie and SA in the semi and final. This will be a tough world cup to win. We are the best team; have the best players; but it does not mean we will win it. Injuries will mean a lot. We are already in a bit of trouble with Smith, Robinson and Thorne out for a while. Let's hope they are not bad injuries. Aussie are definitely a better team than 12 months ago as is SA. It is going to be a huge ask!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Lloyd Geering

I see that Lloyd Geering got his honours from the NZ government (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/topic/story.cfm?c_id=500818&objectid=10460764). I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand he has done a lot; been highly influential, reconstructed 'Christianity' for many and written many books, articles and taught many. I can see why a secular society would honour him. On the other hand he has been a terribly destructive man in terms of undermining the faith in NZ. His alternative faith is to me, a hopeless, futile vision of life with no God, no salvation and no eternal hope. It is up to us to work hard to show NZ the hope of the Gospel, demonstrate the reasonableness of the faith and undo the work of such men. In the Spirit and with the Gospel it can be done.

Alice Cooper

Hey this is cool! Alice Cooper is a Christian and now he is setting up a Christian youth centre. He is a born again Christian. He has his own radio show! Better than performing with mocking hangings on stage, fake blood, snakes and if I remember rightly, killing chickens on stage! The power of God for salvation! Go Alice! Cool! http://www.nzherald.co.nz/topic/story.cfm?c_id=500818&objectid=10458805

Christians in Politics

I think it is great when Christians enter politics in response to a sense of call and when they have the ability to contribute positively to society. In a democracy it is vital that Christians play a role. I am not sure about 'Christian parties' however.

What makes a party Christian? Is it because they are all confessing Christians, pray over their 'ministry'? Is it because they seek to bring Christian morals to society? Is it because they stand for the poor, working to see the government reflect the social justice dimensions of Christ's ministry? Is it because they believe in creativity, innovation and the restoration of society to God's ideal? I see great confusion among Christians in politics.

I am not convinced that Christian parties are the best way to go. Why? Because I don't believe parties can be Christian? They can reflect Christian values and seek to bring God's love, justice, ethics and hope to the world. But I am not sure they are Christian. Such parties isolate Christians and tends to see them marginalised from power unless they can become substantial. I would rather see them in the mainstream parties and being salt, light and leaven to the world.

Recent events also speak against 'Christian parties'. There is the Graham Capill disaster when the 'Christian' moralist was busted for sex offences! Then there is this in the herald about the split in 'United-Future' where we see the parties Christians splitting! How can such 'Christian' politicians stand before the nation for the values of the faith when they can't work together. Check out http://www.nzherald.co.nz/topic/story.cfm?c_id=500818&objectid=10461328.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Teresa Gattung and the poor

I see in the paper the other day that Teresa Gattung has left Telecom with a $3.9m payout! Nice! This on top of her rather disappointing $1.25m per year. In fact according to the NZ Herald all up she leaves with a $5.125m payout plus 12 weeks annual leave (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/category/story.cfm?c_id=93&objectid=10461941)! I say disappointing; especially when her successor Paul Reynolds will receive $1.75m/anum!

Joking aside, this is disgusting; a disgrace to our nation. Telecom are oppressing New Zealanders with exorbidant prices for cell phones and phone lines etc; and they are doing this! This is an example of the gap between rich and poor which is growing in our nation.

I feel guilty though. A while ago I was taken by the option of switching from Vodafone to Telecom in one of those deals, and I took it. Of course I can't jump back because I signed one of those 12 month deals. But then, what is the problem, I am sure Vodafone are no different.

I can hear the voice of Amos and the other 8th century prophets. I can hear the voice of Jesus speaking the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, the rich fool, the story of the rich ruler, Zaccheus; crying 'woe to the rich...' Bring on the eschatological reversal I say! There is no justice in this decision; there is no justification for this decision. We need to beware all of us in this nation. Jesus warned, 'be on your guard against all kinds of greed'; this is greed. And to think there are preachers in this nation preaching prosperity, prosperity, prosperity. As if we can just be obedient, tithe and watch the bucks roll in! They would celebrate Teresa G; after all her blessing indicates she is blessed of God, doesn't it? NOT!

We need to stand against this injustice. We need to resist this oppression. We need to shout from the roof tops the message of Jesus. I pray for her and others like her... I pray that this camel can find someway through the eye of the needle!

Triathlon wierdness

It seems wierd to me to read in the paper the other day that the Kiwi blokes at the world triathlon champs buttoned off and one even pulled out in the run because in 2 weeks they have to race for Olympic places at Beijing. Wierd to timetable the trial 2 weeks after the worlds! Why not make the worlds a qualifying race? Sure, it is good to qualify on the Olympic course, but it demeans the world champs. What would I know I suppose?

Valerie and Mahe... yeah

What a great effort by the Kiwi's at the World Rowing Champs and the World Athletic Champs. Valerie Vili is a legend. She has now won a big one! To win the world shot put champs is utterly incredible. She used to belong to the same athletics club as my daughters; in fact she presented their awards at a recent athletics awards. She is wonderful athlete. Kimberley Smith is also brilliant. 5th in the world on the track up against the African middle distance athletes is sensational! Nick Willis and Nina Rolsten did brilliantly as well; 10th and 13th. New Zealanders have no idea how amazing these performances are! Way to go! These athletes are all incredibly inspirational to my girls who all race for Auckland and hopefully soon for NZ. Go NZ!

And what about the rowing! Fantastic. Mahe Drysdale is brilliant. 3 World championships in a row is absolutely amazing. If he can add gold in Beijing next year, he is truly one of the very greats of NZ sport. By the time he and Valerie are finished I think they will both be on the list for sure! The other rowing gold winners (Kiwi Coxless Four of Carl Meyer, James Dallinger, Eric Murray and Hamish Bond and Duncan Grant in the lightweight sculls) are also amazing. Especially brilliant are the Four who beat one of the most incredible field every coming from last to first! The Ever-Swindell Twins and Twaddle and Bridgewater are also fantastic. I wouldn't write either team off for next year! Being an avid competitive indoor rower, I know a little of the pain these guys go through. They are freaks!

I am sure if the AB's win the world cup as I hope they do; I am sure they will win the ultimate Halberg award; but in the sober light of day considering the competition, I think Mahe and Valerie both had more to beat and a stiffer task to win their golds. I would give it to Valerie actually, in that rowing is not such a global sport.

One other thing; I love Valerie Vili's name because you can spin it around; Go Vilarie Vale!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Cricket Combined Stats

I was roaming wisden cricinfo the other day and found that the records page now had combined stats for test, one-day and 20-20 cricket. They are exceedingly interesting in terms of assessing the quality of players. I have always felt that when we put together the different types cricket we get a real feel for the quality of players.

The records reflect some interesting points in terms of great batsmen.
In terms of centuries the rankings are:
1) Tendulkar 78
2) Ponting 56
3) Lara 53
4) Kallis 39
5) M. Waugh 38
6) Hayden 37
7) Dravid 36
8) Ul-Haq, S. Waugh, Ganguly, Haynes, V. Richards 35
Clearly Tendulkar stands out! Then Ponting and Lara are well ahead of the others.

In terms of averages the rankings of the top players are (over 45):
1) Ponting 49.60
2) Kallis 49.46
3) Richards 48.75
4) Hayden 48.58
5) Tendulkar 48.06
6) Miandad 46.99
7) Dravid 46.72
8) Yousuf 46.52
9) Lara 46.28
10) Gavasker 46.20

In terms of total runs the rankings for the top players are (Over 17,000 runs)
1) Tendulkar 26,390
2) Lara 22,358
3) Ul-Haq 20,563
4) Dravid 19,998
5) Ponting 19,941
6) Jayasuriya 18,999
7) S. Waugh 18,496
8) A.Border 17,698
9) J. Kallis 17,609

When one considers these; the top 6 batsmen of the modern era would appear to be:
1) Tendulkar
2) Ponting
3) V. Richards
4) B. Lara
5) Kallis
6) Dravid

The top openers would bre Hayden and Gavasker.