Monday, January 10, 2011

Dear Black Caps

Dear Black Caps. For years I have been a supporter and lover of NZ cricket. What I witnessed yesterday has tested that more than any other performance I have seen in recent times. Against a reasonable Pakistani bowling attack, you capitulated pathetically. This, the day after a number of you were snapped up for good money by Indian T20 teams. You should be ashamed of yourselves. This season you have been trounced by the world's second worst side Bangladesh, smashed in the one-dayers in India, and out of character, performed well in two tests in India. Why should I bother watching you again?

There are basics cricket is based on. Here are some you might like to consider:

1. When the ball is on the stumps, you defend. If it is short, you go onto the back foot and defend it. When it is pitched up, you step forward.
2. When you step forward, you lead with your head. MacIntosh, you need to go and get someone to throw a million balls to you and teach yourself this.
3. When the ball is wide of the off-stump, you leave it, at least until you are well settled and know the pitch and are in. This means, as Andy Moles put it, you give the bowler a half hour to settle in. You don't need to dominate the first 30 minutes. Leave the ball alone when it is wide of the off stump.
4. When you are running between the wickets, there is no need to take silly singles in test cricket. It is pointless. Sure, if there is a run chase, go for it.
5. When you are playing in test cricket, keep the ball on the deck. There is no need to wack it over the top. Sure, later in your innings you can do so. Or, in a run chase, you may be more daring.
6. Have you heard of playing in the V? That is that area from mid-on to mid-off. If you are batting well, you will be driving into these areas off front and back foot. Remember Martin Crowe? He did this consistently. Drove the ball straight, in an arc from extra-cover to mid-wicket.
7. Time is your friend in test cricket. It is a strange thing, but the longer you bat, the easier it gets.
8. When bowling, note the field you have, and bowl to it. If you are have a 6-3 off side field, that means bowling on the off stump.
9. Don't bowl on the legs of Pakistani batsmen. You may have noted over the last 100 years of test cricket, that Pakistanis and others from the sub-continent love it there. Bowl on or outside off stump.
10. When the ball is hit in the air and you can catch it, catch it. If you find you can't, practice more. It is funny how hours of fielding practice finds you better at fielding.
11. Be relentless when you bowl. Give them nothing. On a length with some variation. Hours and hours of it. You don't need to be quick or turn the ball square. Just put it there and it will come. Test cricket is a relentless game of wearing down the other team. For the last 15 years you have been giving them away on a plate. Grow up!

Most of these ideas are old fashioned but they are tried and true. I saw a side recently do this really well. It was the English Ashes team. They bowled relentlessly, they caught every catch, they batted with complete discipline, they triumphed.

You have the talent, but what you are doing is pathetic. Why should a fan like me keep watching? Why?


Howard Carter said...

Amen Mark,

The only thing I have to say is that suffering prduces character being a Black Caps supporter as well as being a roller coaster of emotion is very character building.

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