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A sighed aside

By Asides and black caps

Tonight marks the first night off I have had in quite a while. No Downstage, no study, no films to watch. I got home fully intending to switch on the tv and watch the cricket from Bangladesh, only to discover that my Sky has been cut off — it’s that long since I switched it on. I only keep Sky for the irregular West Ham games (only two so far this season) and the cricket and have to wonder if it’s worth it.

Well, obviously it isn’t worth it and yet, I’ll be in to Sky tomorrow morning to pay the bill.

So tonight I will be updating the blog with last week’s film reviews, updating the Academy web site for the new week’s sessions, and updating the Voice Arts Trust web site with their first podcast.

Not much of a night off then, after all.

New Black Caps uniform - what the f-?

By black caps, Cricket and Sport

It’s almost as if New Zealand Cricket want to make it hard to support the Black Caps. What with sudden, unexpected retirements and the loss of the Boxing Day Test, they now give us this fiasco:

Scotty Styris models the new Black Caps uniform despite the fact he probably wont get a game this summer.

Scotty Styris models the new Black Caps uniform despite the fact he probably won’t get a game this summer.

[Hat tip to Hadyn at Public Address for the heads up and Richard Irvine at Sport Review for the pic] 

Getting too comfortable with losing

By black caps, Cricket and Sport

Daniel Vettori smiles at a press conference ahead of New Zealand's first one-dayer against Australia. © Getty ImagesBefore we get too far into this great Summer of 07–08 I want to express some concern at how easy young Vettori seems to be taking defeat. He’s taking it graciously, magnanimously and generously to be sure. But he doesn’t look like he hates losing, like it eats away at him, corroding his very soul.

In this he reminds me of another young captain who was supposedly “the chosen one”, annointed and appointed with the full support of the great minds at HQ. Taine Randell, we were told, had captained every New Zealand age group representative rugby side and was positively destined to be All Black captain. And so he became.

Taine Randell (Cardiff, 1999)And with a win-draw-loss record of 12−1−9 we got pretty used to seeing Taine giving “full credit” to the opposition and after a while it looked like it didn’t even hurt.

Dan Vettori’s win-loss record in internationals before taking over the job permanently from Stephen Fleming was a very creditable 8 from 11. Since the Twenty20 World Cup, it has been P9 W2 L7.

Tomorrow we take on Australia again, this time in Sydney. And let’s hear no more about Tait’s suspect action. Of course, he chucks- but if we are going to worry about him then we should take a look at Kyle Mills and that is a bit too close to home.

Another one bites the dust: McMillan retires

By black caps, Cricket and Sport

Craig McMillanLet me take a moment to salute one of the great entertainers of the modern game, Craig McMillan who has announced his retirement from all cricket.

McMillan launched himself on the international scene in 1997 by hitting Shane Warne back over his head in the first over of his first test innings and never took a backward step again during an international career that saw him score nearly 8,000 runs and take 77 wickets.

McMillan has cited health reasons as the primary cause of his retirement and he has always struggled with the debilitating effects of diabetes, often leaving the field for treatment and suffering cramps and strains. Keeping a constant blood sugar level in the tough environment of international cricket (incessant touring, hot weather, etc) must have been a challenge and his struggle to control his weight in recent years is testamant to those difficulties.

I think, also, that McMillan’s problems with concentration (the “rush of blood to the head”) that prevented him from achieving all that his talent and confidence allows can possibly be blamed on his medical condition.

In any case, his enthusiasm will be missed; his commitment to the cause no matter what state the game; and his genuine enjoyment at being out on the park. Tonight I’ll raise a cup of tea to McMillanus — bowler of bouncers and hitter of sixes.

Yet another World Cup

By black caps, Cricket and Sport

Chris GayleWhile most of New Zealand’s attention is on France I will also be keeping an eye on South Africa and the first World Twenty20 (or is that 20Twenty?) Championship.

It’s been a long time between internationals for the Black Caps — long enough to almost forget the heartbreak of Kingston in April. Actually I may never get over this particular piece of insanity:

McCullum c Silva b Muralitharan 0(1)

Anyway, we’re on the telly again at often ridiculous hours of the day and playing a fairly ridiculous game. As I like to tell people: if Test Cricket is Shakespeare and One Day Cricket is Chekhov then Twenty20 is “Everybody Loves Raymond” but I’ll be watching all the same.

And Fleming has announced his retirement from the One Day game and accepted his demotion as Captain of the Test side. I have mixed feelings about this (and the Bracewell-factor generally) but I feel confident that Vettori will do well considering the example that Fleming has set for him.