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A sighed aside

By Asides, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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.