In Australia, the dossier on the South Africans has got a lot of coverage, after being carefully couriered leaked to an eager Aussie media. The document seems to mainly prescribe:
a. short pitched bowling, and
…which makes you wonder if the jandal-lickers’ tactics have moved on since the days of Ian Chappell etc. It’s as innovate as wandering into the Aussie’s dressng room and shouting ‘everyone grow a moustache!’. Still, it should be a fantastic series for cricket lovers bored with watching Sri Lankan groundsmen moving covers about.
Picture included mainly because of ‘how awesome is this?’
The All Blacks have been on a full on Scottish social media assault, instagramming the locals and digitally tweeting themselves hoarse. Gone are the days when All Blacks like Meads, Lochore or Murdoch would turn up in the mother country to glower at the press and organise a big pub fight before boarding the plane having not actually said *anything* over the two months’ tour.
The All Blacks’ end of year tour has fallen into a fairy comfortable routine now, we either do the ‘warm up by smashing a couple of easy beats, before playing Wales then England’ or the grand slam, which is pretty much the same thing. Australia and South Africa do the same, which must be pretty depressing for the about-to-play-the-Six-Nations locals. Imagine if some guys turned up and smashed us for a month just before we played the Rugby Championship. More depressing than being Clive Woodward I’d imagine.
I’ll leave you with Rod Stewart crying, probably the best sporting thing that actually happened this week:
There’s a new dawn in Auckland. It’s not a second harbour crossing made up of trained dolphins ferrying commuters to the city on their backs (sounds cheap Mr Joyce!), or a ‘no arseholes’ rule in the Viaduct, set to transform the area into Tuesday night Invercargill main street within a week.
No, it’s the return of the prodigal son, world cup winner John ‘mad butcher’ Kirwan, back from Italy and Japan and, much to Twitter and headline writers’ amusement – the abyss.
The best thing for Kirwan is there’s no matches for almost a year – the feelgood factor the Blues could generate by not actually playing rugby could well last until twenty minutes into their first match in 2013.
I hope JK goes well – but posts like these and comments like these it’s clear the Warriors, who announced a series of youth programme and community initiatives last week are miles ahead in the having-your-shit-together metric. Except for on the field. No-one has their shit together there.
In rugby-teams-that-are actually-playing news, the sportreview-approved Chiefs go into Friday night’s big ‘clash’ as underdogs, thanks to the Crusaders’ cheating ways. In a DAMMING EXPOSE, stuff.co.nz’s EPIC TROLL Mark Reason details all the ways the Crusaders have CHEATED their way to seven titles, including:
Waiting in the car park before games to influence referees by beating them up.
‘Signalling’ at Bridge
If the Chiefs do overcome the CHEATING Crusaders and go on to win the title, the Chiefs players would no doubt run into the chicks from the Magic, who’d still be downtown on the daiquiris after winning the ANZ Netball Championship. If the Chiefs and the Magic were to go full-Mad Monday together, it could result in a generation of Waikato sporting superstars that would dominate the national sporting scene for decades to come. sportreview.net.nz’s postion is: this must happen.
The Black Caps’ West Indian tours has been somewhat challenging so far. Difficult country to tour. Upheaval in the coaching staff. Multiple injuries. A mixture of jaded old pros and inexperienced youngsters. If the guys aren’t careful, it has all the hallmarks of going full Cairns / Paroroe / Turner.
The Black Caps arrive in the West Indies looking forward to playing some decent cricket.
Ross Taylor receives the latest injury report from medical staff.
Brendon McCallum answers the cry for back up.
John Wright sits the boys down for a bit of a motivational talk.
As I write this, the Black Caps are putting together a decent bowling performance to win the third one-dayer. The West Indies are no one-man team, but Chris Gayle is the key. He can cheerfully take our attack to bits and make it look depressingly easy. We need to get him and get him early – on paper, there’s no reason why our patched-up team can’t beat the West Indies, even at home. Of course, things written on bits of paper are faily meaningless when you’re being carted to all parts of the ground, and have to share your sweltering hotel room with an overly-enthusiastic calypso band. Let’s hope our guys can push on from here.
Back home, there’s now two options for central Auckland test cricket venues. This new one is a stone’s throw from the old one, part of proposed development for the tank farm. There’s no doubt the concept photos are spectacular, and its right-beside-the-water-ness would give Auckland a central city sporting venue at last. It would be great if the Victoria Park and Waterfront groups can work together to make sure this happens in some fashion, and the test-cricket-in-Albany plan is sent to, well, Albany forever.
Last thing on cricket – Mark Boucher has been forced to retire from cricket due to a nasty, nasty injury. Great shame for him, and he’ll be missed by South Africa – but I’ll remember him mainly for this tremendous sledging effort against Zimbabwe.
The sporting media loved the Sonny Bill story, as they got to report reports from those ‘in the know’ – New Zealand rugby’s number one ‘in the know’ sources are the guy who runs the mini doughnut stand outside Eden Park, and Murray Deaker’s postie. They had Sonny Bill going to Japan to play for a corporation renowned for having shitloads of cash and a shithouse rugby team – and they were right. Rugby’s worst kept secret since ‘Stu Wilson is a bit of a twat’ was revealed at a press conference that reached turning-up-to-work-naked levels of awkwardness.
Touchingly, Sonny Bill seemed genuinely sad to be leaving the Chiefs and the All Blacks. Less touchingly, he’s still going. Suddenly he’s all about handshakes and loyalty, when up til now, all appearances indicate he’s mostly interested in negotiating deals for heaps of wonga. It’s a bloody shame, he seems to have fitted in really well at the Chiefs – and things will change on both sides after a year away in Japan and Sydney. I’ve got no idea if we’ll see him back, we’ll see, and we’ll see if it seems to matter as much as it does now. If he really cared about the team and his team mates he says he does now, he might have put that first.
I took sportreview jr to the rugger on Friday night at Waikato Stadium. Highly recommended, $12 for adults and $5 for kids, with a bouncy castle and little giveaways for the up and comers. Shame about the result, but.
In the tour, Bradley Wiggins is in yellow, and appears comfortable on the bike, and jumpy like a cat in a bag full of dogs off it, sweating at cameramen and anonymous losers on Twitter alike. Wiggins is cool-as-fuck, Paul Weller on a bike, all mod sideburns and Jimmy-from-Quadrophenia accent.
The Tour De France seems to be presenting no problem for Wiggins, but the mechanical doping rumours won’t go away.
He’s also the leader and beneficiary of the best managed, organised and funded cycling organisation in the world that, after winning Olympic medals galore decided to produce a Tour winner, and it looks like they may have one. I’m nervous for him, his broken collarbone exit from last year’s tour is fresh in my mind, and I think it’s preying on his too. Hang in there Wiggo.
NSFW language, unless your place of work is Team Sky at the Tour De France, in which case it’s fuckin’ game on.
I’ve taken the family to the beach for a holiday and, in the absence of a Sky decoder, I’ve missed the Chiefs, Tottenham and Black Cap defeats, all of which came about in creative and disappointing fashions, according to their own individual circumstances. On the bright side, I have caught fish:
The highlight of my sporting week.
The South Africans are here, and after Martin Guptill tried to redecorate the upper reaches of the Cake Tin using his bat and the South African bowling attack in the first T20, things were looking up. Of any of the top teams in world cricket, we must fancy ourselves against the Proteas – they’re good but mentally flaky, kind of like the All Blacks were.
Because I’m on holiday, and because I haven’t been blogging much, here’s some links to keep you going:
This was a match that truly lived up to the clichés. The Dark Horses, plucky little New Zealand, punching above their weight and making the most of their meagre resources, up against South Africa, the supremely organised team that, faced with a pressure situation, become as effective as wet single ply in the face of a heavy curry house session the night previous. And choke.
The Black Caps showed they were prepared to win ugly; make no mistake, this was an ugly win, possibly up to full Ricky level on the sportreview.net.nz Ugly-ometer:
Ugly scales up from L-R
For this match, sportreview.net.nz made the rare effort to actually review some sport, sacrificing time that could have been spent unconscious to stay awake and watch the entire Black Caps innings. Taylor and Ryder played it safe to get us a reasonable total, but traditional one day tactics dictate the ‘accumulation’ period usually lasts between overs 18 and 35. New Zealand’s accumulation period may be still going – it was an innings best described as ‘gelatinous’, but, on a pitch more dry and dusty than 48 hours in a Koru Lounge with Phil Goff, it would do. Then this happened:
In the cricketing equivalent of that Australian schoolkid chucking that bully about, the Black Caps surrounded Du Plessis, who’d just run out the competent De Villiers like schoolboys around a well worn copy of Playboy to let him know he’d fucked up, if he hadn’t worked it out already. The ensuing fracas lead to fines and bad examples for youngsters watching. Let’s have a look at the Black Caps’ crimes in slow motion:
Stryris and Vettori attempt to manoeuvre Du Plessis into training ground set-piece move ‘Black Cap sandwich’. 12th man Kyle Mills, who was just passing by, helpfully offers the South African a drink. Of choke-a-cola.
Du Plessis shoves Mills, in the process setting the game back years in the vital USA market, because nothing looks as ‘wussy’ as when cricketers fight, not even cyclists. Vettori tries to rescue the situation by telling Du Plessis to use his bat at least.
A garden gnome (in red) tries to restore order.
Styris and Du Plessis are nominated to kiss and make up on behalf of the sides by their captains, and play resumes.
Did the Safas choke? Well, a little bit. Maybe. But, they came up against a New Zealand team that discovered their self belief down the back of the couch, and used it to turn the heat on South Africa like Gordon Ramsay with a knife in each hand and sand in his undies; Stephen Fleming would have been proud.
For choking students, this match closely resembled the All Blacks’ loss to France in the 1999 rugby world cup semi final – decent team, handy lead, a few signs of life from the opposition, then folding like a cheap card table. Hard to take for the Proteas and to be honest, Kiwi sports fans should wait for the All Blacks’ next world cup performance (which is happening soon I hear) before throwing too much shit their way.
I was very pleased for Jacob Oram, who took some vital wickets and a stonking catch – he showed exactly how much we’ve missed him over the years, and how people who’ve criticised his place in the team are cocks.
Like much of the country I imagine, I went to bed after the first innings and awoke to a big surprise, roughly equivalent to a horse’s head in the bed. Considering our form going into this tournament, and the stumbles along the way, we can be very pleased with making the semis, especially as we knocked over a proper big team in the quarters to get there. Sri Lanka at home will be tough, but fuck it. Bring it on.
If you’ve made it this far, here’s more quarter final coverage, that’s better than what you’ve just read, to be honest:
How much fun was it? Cricket is the perfect sport for This Kind Of Thing, not too much physical exertion for the oldies, and lots of space in between the action for farking about. Plus Adam Parore got hit with a bouncer while being a cock. That was a highlight.
Some of these guys could still be playing for the Black Caps. The Greatbach / Astle partnership in particular was as smooth and brutal as a gang fight in a butter factory. That said, the years haven’t been kind to Gavin Larsen’s bowling. Nor Sir Richard’s, who doesn’t play a lot these days, unlike Ewan Chatfield, who still turns out for his club “if they haven’t got enough players.” Bless. Tana Umaga, though, that guy could play for the Black Caps *now*. As could bloody Marc Ellis.
You there! This is what your hair looks like!
Subtle Rexona product placement.
Our PM smiled and waved a bat at Shane Warne’s friendly bowling, but good god; as a nation, we need to improve our banter. Ben Hurley struggled manfully to lift the standard, but John Key – is “Liz says Hi” the best you can do? It’s hardly “I can smell the uranium on your breath” is it? It doesn’t even make sense. Warne showed us how it was done with an offhand and off color crack about the TradeMe prize winner’s wife – the crowd went quiet as they tried to work it out. Warne’s a great sport, we couldn’t have asked for a better heavily botox-ed pantomime villain for this event. He needs to bowl his underarms a bit straighter though.
The whole day, complete with the perfect venue and rugby and Hobbit luminaries, was a raging success, not to mention a tribute to Stephen Fleming’s mana, determination and political and organisational skill. Surely there’s a role for him somewhere in the national setup in the near future?
One grumble – the TAB made their beachhead in the nation’s living rooms even bigger with their guy Mark Stafford doing much of the TV interviewing. He may be able to ask softball questions OK, but do you want or accept Goldstein or the Marlboro Man doing the same? I don’t, and I don’t see the difference.
The Black Caps’ win over Pakistan has catapulted us from tournament also rans to the tournament’s Toxic Avengers. Ross ‘Rose’ Taylor celebrated his birthday by spending 30 overs looking more lost than Tony Grieg at a ‘knowing what the fuck you’re going on about’ conference, before launching into the Pakistan attack like it was his laptop during a heavy ‘tweeting’ session, and celebrating in the traditional manner.
In fact, if we grasp at straws hard enough and link Taylor’s innings and Irish legend Kevin O’Brien’s knock against England, we can call this the ‘berserker’ tactic. The equivalent of rugby’s ’99′ call, berserker use in cricket is a huge opportunity, and we could see soon teams sending their 12th man sprinting on with a bat in each hand to threaten the fielding side, in a move sure to be labelled the ‘Bracewell’.
The berserker – the future of cricket, or Graeme Smith relaxing in his hotel post-match?
Of course, after Pakistan’s Akmal let a golden Taylor chance go gleefully between himself and first slip, before clearing up any lingering doubt about his suitability to be an international ‘keeper by dropping Taylor all by himself, Some People On The Internet claimed ‘match fixing’. sportreview.net.nz can exclusively reveal the only ‘fixing’ of the tournament so far occurred when the Black Caps played Zimbabwe and everyone had their bollocks chopped off.
But these are early days in this 18 month long tournament, and we’re yet to see a clear favorite emerge. England have been the entertainers so far, losing to Ireland, tying with India, and facilitating a South African choke. You know that when you’re among Englishmen behaving weirdly and South Africans choking, you’re not in a Brixton nightclub but a cricket world cup, team.
Predictions at this stage: Vettori to struggle on manfully despite losing one or more limbs in the Sri Lanka match; Kyle Mills to put his hand up for berserker role, claiming he’s been doing it for years already; England to default match against West Indies, missing the toss and circling the ground in a double decker bus instead while blasting the Benny Hill show theme; and sportreview.net.nz to start watching a cricket world cup match and managing to stay up past the tenth over, in the prediction least likely to occur.
The Black Caps’ coaching-set up isn’t that clear – new coach Mark Greatbach gets to advise on team selection, while Dan has final say, and while Dan’s in charge on the field, Mark helps out with batting and gives interviews, but only if Dan’s not around… it’s more complicated than Tony Greig using his hotel swipe card after a hard evening’s awards ceremony.
In order to poll the Cricket public’s understanding, sportreview.net.nz presents a pop quiz, using 1977′s Star Wars as a model for a modern international Cricket coaching.
Is the Black Caps’ coaching set up more like:
Option A: C3PO and R2D2
C3PO is the kind of droid that emails Health & Safety to see if he’s allowed to use the Millenium Falcon’s toilet – you can trust his advice, but you really want to be wearing your ipod if you’re sat beside him waiting to bat.
R2 has a working relationship with C3PO, but he’s definitely his own droid. He thinks fast and gets results, and that’s what gets him loaded into an X-Wing to help blow up the fucking Death Star.
Option B: Ben ‘Obi Wan’ Kenobi and Luke Skywalker
Luke looks up to Ben, but concerns remain he might pick up bad habits from Han Solo, journeyman pro from the Corellia country scene.
Ben’s been pretty handy with a bat over the years, and has been on all the big tours. What he lacks in footwork these days, he makes up in mind games and getting in his opponent’s head. Superb facial hair. He’s keen to do some mentoring with the up and comers.
Option C: Darth Vader and Admiral Motti
Mark: Don’t try to frighten us with your sorcerous ways, Lord Vettori. Your sad devotion to backing away and cutting may have worked against a popgun Pakistan attack, but is it clairvoyance enough against the Australi….