Black Caps coaching – Star Wars quiz

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, 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….

Mark: *choking noises*

Dan: I find your lack of faith disturbing.

Share your answer in the comments. Black Caps coaching application

Sportsfreak and Cricket With Balls have both applied for the Black Caps coaching job – that seemed like a nickable idea, so here’s mine.

Jeremy Coney, on his first tour to Australia, was given some money to buy himself a pair of cricket shoes. He came back with a twelve string guitar. This is the model for my coaching regime.

Let’s face it, we’re a small, remote, Rugby obsessed nation with no meaningful domestic scene to speak of, and we punch above our weight as it is. We’re going to embrace humor and guts, and get on with it. I reckon we’ll do brilliantly.

Our players will all be free to play in England, India, even (especially) Australia if it means they front up for the Black Caps and score runs and take wickets. All up and comers must play a year in Ireland at my old club to get some solid life experience / piss down them.

From now on, NZ Cricket’s priorities will be tests, then everything else. We’ll play with style and imagination, and we’ll never take an embarrassing towelling again.

These are the kinds of players I’ll develop:

The Latham. No nonsense opener who knows how to stay out there and make runs. Can also bowl dobbers.

The Wright. No nonsense opener who knows how to stay out there and make runs. Is also really funny.

The Fleming. Captaincy genius. Works opposition batsmen out to the extent they can’t fart without a fieldsman being on hand.

The Crowe. A ‘where did he come from?’ batsmen with shots so elegant the Aussie quicks weep into their moustaches.

The Jones. Guy with style as ungainly as using an ironing board to change a lightbulb in the dark, but scores runs.

The MacMillian. Fearless, swashbuckling shotmaker. Can also bowl dobbers.

Brendan McCullum. I’ll have two, please.

The Hadlee. Makes the ball talk, saying stuff like “You’re shit. Get back in the shed”.

The Harris. Folk hero batsman who specialises in getting us home against Australia in the tight ones. Can also bowl dobbers.

The Dan. Every team needs a guy in glasses. We may need a fat guy also.

The Bond. We just need someone really, really quick.

Other initiatives include:

The Dobber academy. We’ll play to our strengths and produce a nation of slow mediums that can tie down an end and take vital wickets.

Marketing will be immediately handed over to Mike and Paul of the Beige Brigade – this should have been done years ago. NO music will be played at the grounds when cricket is being played, ever

TV and radio commentary will be handled by Leg Break and the Mike on Cricket lot, along with Jeremy Wells. JRod will do the interviews / keys in the pitch bit.

That’s my application. Remember, a vote for a smart-arse blogger coached Black Caps is a vote for New Zealand, pies for lunch, beers after work, and beating Australia.

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