Meandering toward the big IPL bucks

Big talking point is Flintoff and Pieterson’s failure to earn their money by actually playing well and that before they bugger off. This fascinating article from Lawrence Booth theorises that English players just think too damn much:

Nottinghamshire batsman Mark Wagh recalls asking his former Warwickshire team-mate Brad Hogg “about his pre-delivery movements”. He goes on: “Should I go back and across or press with the front foot?” Hogg, the former Australian left-arm wrist-spinner, replies: “Not a clue, mate, sorry.” Wagh’s conclusion? “It’s funny how aiming to middle every ball causes the rest of your game to fall into place.”

Exhibit A:’s net session; the poor bloke gets himself in bits thinking about just what the fuck his feet are up to [NOTE: Not-English Tom defends his batting in the comments on this post!] . Exhibit B: My own shonky golf game improved no end after reading this book – it says, basically, your mind needs something to do to occupy itself while your body gets on with the job. I bet Sehwag doesn’t lose much sleep thinking about his feet.

My moment of the tournament so far is Kevin Pieterson attempting to switch-stance Dan Vettori, and being bowled about halfway up middle stump (above) – if someone can find the youtube clip, I’d be very grateful.

The other highlight has been JRod’s Dirk Nannes coverage. Greater love hath no paragraph-challenged cricket blogger than that for a hairy, lairy, barely under control Aussie fast bowler.

The online buzz is, of course, the Fake IPL player blog. I’m surprised sports betting outfits aren’t running odds on the IPL stooge. The nicknames mean most of it’s flying over my head, but it’s super stuff, I’m loving the bits about the commentators making cocks of themselves, as if they needed any help. Come home, Danny Morrison, your country needs you to shut the hell up for five minutes.

Who’s going to win it – who are you putting your money on in the IPL betting? Does it even matter? Really, it hasn’t really fired yet. I’ve gone from MySky-ing entire matches to taping the 1/2 hour highlights packages if that’s any indicator. This year’s tournament has been hampered by rain and comparisons with last year’s extravaganza, which buzzed with the novelty of the big money, the dancing girls and Brendan McCallum scoring runs. For me, the IPL seems to be mostly about things that aren’t cricket related.

Catching up

Sorry for the ‘review being quiet lately – it seems one of the pre-requisites of a sports blog is *blogging*. I know. Here’s what’s been happening while real life has got in the way:

When me and a mate were trying to name the 1987 WC winning XV, John Drake was the last name we came up with – I only knew him much better as a commentator and columnist. I rate him alongside Tony Johnson as NZ’s best. Almost everyone paying tribute said he ‘had interests outside Rugby’, which is a sign of sanity.  We’ll miss his thoughtful, forthright style in our house when Stu Wilson starts levering foot into mouth again next season.

Iain O’Brien’s blogging on Cricinfo now, and while JRod bemoans him jumping ship, it seems that Cricinfo are re-blogging Iain’s blogspot site, not the other way around. As Emma Hart said on Hadyn Green’s PA discussion, ‘I was listening to O’Brien getting the hell bounced out of him that day and thinking, wow, can’t wait to read his blog about this’. Too right.

Cockfighting aside, there’s no crueler game than golf – it was excruciating to watch Hamilton’s David Smail mess up the Australian Open yesterday evening. Brother of sportreview has played with David, and even with a hugely successful career in Asia, he’d have wanted to nail the Australian Open to go with his NZ Open. Still, Smail handled himself with dignity throughout, in that situation I would have definitely vomited.

Ben from Mike on Cricket now has his own pad @ Crucket. Get in there.

Sorry I missed Links on Friday this week. If I’d got around to it, the Wunder Boner would have probably made the cut. 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.