Captain Flematic

Stephen Fleming loped over the boundary rope for New Zealand for the last time on Tuesday, having secured his test average of 40, and going out as undoubtedly our most successful captain ever, but leaving the sporting public torn. Depending on who you talk to he’s either going too early or he should have gone years ago. So which is it? The knockers may want to look away now…

Fleming famously asked Richard Boock to write his biography, after Boock spent the previous year waging a campaign against Fleming’s captaincy in the Herald as bizzare as it was savage. This was a typically pagmatic move. The book contains plenty of turmoil under its dreadfully cheesy cover, from Glenn Turner’s iron rule prompting Paroroe and Cairns’ hissy fit rebellions, the human ego Chris Cairns being in the dressing room generally, the Sri Lankan bombing and NZC’s disgraceful insistence the tour go ahead, and Dion Nash, Matthew Bell and Flem being hung out to dry for smoking grass in South Africa when others were involved. It’ll be interesting to read his side of the Bracewell era if he publishes another.

He was an atypical New Zealand batsman – graceful, not bludgeoning, preferring to guide the ball to the cover or straight boundary than slogging to cow corner. As the Napier radio commentators never tired of saying, it was typical that in his last test he passed 50 twice but missed out on 100s. I would have liked to see him ride it out for a few more years in the test team without the armband and rack up some big scores, and slyly digging at the opposition as a senior pro. He did this in Hamilton to great effect, hinting the Black Caps were the only team playing cricket going into the final day, helping pile pressure on England like a collector’s pin through a bug. We’ll miss his catching alright, and I was dying to see where his endorsements would head next, having flogged heat pumps like they were a new religion backed by country and western singers, and wandering Cuba Mall dressed as a giant deodorant can accosting passers-by. It could have only got better.

I was at the Oval in 1999 the day we clinched a test series win in England, it sparked the most productive period of his captaincy, taking in the the ICC trophy win, culminating in summer of 2001, when he toyed with Australia in Australia, knocking them out of their own Tri-Series, and so nearly winning a test series, which would have been the crowning glory.

Fleming was a thinking, pragmatic captain (Cricket with Balls went so far as to describe him as Noam Chomsky-like) and got the best out of the resources he had – this is New Zealand cricket after all, we don’t have a county championship to make professionals like England, or teams of potential Bradmans queueing up for their shot like Australia. Fleming was too intelligent, too sure of himself, too graceful in his strokeplay, too willing to say what he thought, and probably too handsome for yer average Kiwi to fully accept. He wasn’t the ‘gee, shucks’ humble bloke we love so much, and he copped it for that. If he’d been born in Sydney or Perth, the Aussies would have loved him.

Links on Flem
Fleming and Macca take to Shane Warne in 2001
The famous Richardson interview
THAT century v South Africa in 2003

Dances with whistles

I loved Mexted’s comment in the Hurricanes / Crusaders match tonight. Steve Walsh, who had been talkative even for him, pulled the captains in for a chat on about 60 minutes.

Walsh – “I know everyone’s getting tired, but they have to stay on their feet. I’m now in penalty mode. OK?”

Mex – “He’s been in penalty mode from the beginning – 34 penalties in all so far.”

Walsh dished out 43 penalties in the game. Just because he was passed over for lunch monitor in primer 3, does the country have to suffer so?

Links on Friday

Cricket? For the first time in my LIFE I switched from a test to watch Rugby League on Sunday afternoon, as we threw it away in the first innings. I’ll have more to say on this when I get a sec, but you should read Hamish McDougall and Paul Beige Brigade‘s roundups. Mike On Cricket has had excellent stat-y coverage throughout the series also.

Everyone loves Kevin Keegan, but depressingly predictably, he’s not the Geordie Messiah Newcastle fans were praying for, results-wise anyway. He’s not much of a cyclist, either. This clip comes complete with Alan Partridge-alike commentator and Kev’s insistence he’s OK, despite a mess of ripped flesh

Steve Nash is a big deal in the NBA – he’s also a Tottenham fan. Here’s a nice looking Nike TV spot he directed himself. You can see him kissing the Spurs badge midway through

Cross-linked from me other blog – The best muppet-based heavy metal primer you’ll see on the internet this week can be found here.

Links on Friday (on Thursday)

Wellington’s cricket crowd looked like they had a great time @ the weekend – here’s the guy falling over, always the litmus test of a great day out. Check out the pissy look on the fall-ee.

Chris Waddle is a Spurs legend – and he’s still got it

Newspaper cartoons are cool – Peanuts, Calvin and Hobbes, Footrot Flats, etc. B3ta don’t think so, so they made them funny again – NSFW, some of it, and not for the taking offense brigade

Take the test  (hat tip Audent)

Beige Brigade banned from BYC

There’s a fascinating email exchange over on the Beige Brigade’s site. The chaps offered to help out with L&P’s Back Yard Cricket (BYC) tournament held in Paeroa (one of the most heavily ‘branded’ towns in the world – those poor, poor people) at the weekend, and got this back from the ad agency:

“We don’t want to position ourselves as hi-tech, as a brand. We’re all about back in the day and would probably prefer to use the an 80s dial phone… It’d be great if you’d like to put a link on your site to ours, we would appreciate that…I guess creatively we do feel that our senses of humours are quite different. We kinda see the Beige Brigade as high profile funny guys where as L&P is always the backseat funny guy, finding humour in little kiwi truths and not really making a fuss. We…don’t feel the fit is quite right for L&P, strategically.”

Woah. While this email probably wasn’t meant to be dragged around the internets, the agency have got this one wrong. I do a little ‘branding’ in the day job, and while it’s fun and challenging with something you believe in and understand, you get into deep water real fast if that’s not the case.

EVERYTHING you’re flogged on the telly, radio or newspaper (yes, probably even the Totalspan robot-dog), is ‘strategically’ ‘branded’. Many, many eyebrow furrows and skinny lattes go into figuring out how that washing up glove will make you feel, what that Flyspray would say if it could talk, and what radio station the Tinea Cream would listen to (George. It’s always George).

This account manager has balked at letting the Brigade play in the tournament, and sent them an email with a few cut n’ pastes from the brand outline. That’s shoddy. The Beige Brigade are organised, ambitious, generous (they wholeheartedly support local spelling bees and the beige penguin), positive and passionate supporters, in a country where bagging Black Caps is a pretty popular past-time.

The BYC campaign has its’ funny moments, but if it’s backed up by pompous, humour-free PR that just doesn’t get it, that’s a big fat FAIL. A little research into what the Brigade were all about would have been a far, far classier move than an email like that. You can bet the men in beige will be around doing good things for cricket in New Zealand long after L&P have finished mining this particular vein of Kiwiana to flog sugary water.

Links on Friday

So simple it’s brilliant. It’s American football, it’s Brett Favre going about his business wearing shoulder pads, and a fan steals the ball. There’s nothing left to say, really

The hilarious Stuff White People Like blog scores a big fat bull’s eye on the idea of soccer

Speaking of which, they say footballers are prone to gaming referees and try to gain unlawful advantage. This is, of course, completely untrue

Here’s 100 things never to say in a job interview. I’d probably ask if the stationary was  locked up at night

In case you missed it, here’s Andrew Symonds’ shoulder charge. Legendary raisin Richie Benaud’s comment proves he’s STILL the master

Third place rower unimpressed with race coverage

Rower photoSRPA: Rower Dave Everlast lashed out at the media storm surrounding today’s showdown between triple world champion Mahe Drysdale and double world champion / Olympic gold medalist Rob Waddell on Lake Karapiro today. Everlast finished 25 seconds behind second placed Waddell. “I was prepared to answer a few questions today, but those reporters jostled me getting out of the boat. I could have drowned.” said Everlast. “Those guys don’t get rowing at all”.

Everlast, whose career highlights include finishing behind Drysdale and Waddell on numerous occasions, and giving Drysdale’s truck a jump start one time was not enthused by the prospect of becoming a trivia question in years to come. “Well whoop-de-fuckin’ shit” he said.

Marc Ellis: Take note

screenhunter_1.jpgAndrew Symonds takes down a streaker in last night’s loss to India, undoubtedly the high point of the evening for Australia. Can you say grass burns? I bet you’ll see this one a few times.

Click the pic for the Youtube coverage. I love the way Symonds pats down the streaker marks afterwards.