Monday, 4 November 2013

One last look at Bangladesh

My phone chirped loudly at me this morning and it was far too early to really take in what the alert was about. I'd stayed up on the sofa, well past my bedtime watching the BlackCaps and willing them on to the very end. Anyway, at the chirping of the phone I forced my eyes open to see what it was.

 I already knew the Blackcaps lost the ODI series to Bangladesh, and had a dream overnight that the headline on Granny Herald would read something along the lines of "Blackcaps slump to a new low". I was more disappointed about the inevitable media backlash than I was about the result itself. Anyway, sure enough it was an alert from NZ Herald and the title of their big story was "Have the BlackCaps reached an all time low?"

I don't know what the Herald journo was watching on tv last night, and maybe you can call me Pollyanna, but I thought there were some really good things to come out of that ODI series and in particular the last match.
We have a developing squad, with a wave of new talent slowing seeping into the side. Some of the senior players will be shuffling across to stage left for their impending exit in the coming year or two. There's nothing revolutionary in any of that. We are not the only side to be rebuilding the ranks.
I like to remember also the fact that we are arguably the smallest cricket playing nation in the ICC. There are only 4 million of us to pick the team from. How many are in India, or Bangladesh, or South Africa, or England? Exactly.
West Indies are the closest to us in size, and it will be really interesting to see what happens when they tour here in December.

Anyway, back to the good stuff from that third and final ODI in Bangladesh. What a superb session with the bat from Munro (one of the new guys) to get to 85 and Taylor (one of the old guys) to get 105. Munro has had a couple of opportunities with the bat in the black shirt, and was out first ball in his previous outing. So, he probably had a point to prove both to himself, and to everyone else watching. He has been pretty fierce with the bat for Auckland in the past, so getting that to translate to the international stage was important. I've seen the determined and belligerent character that Munro can be at the crease, so it was an absolute delight to see him switch hitting it all over the park. I just wish he had done one less reverse sweep!
Watching Ross Taylor bat like the old Rosco was a total pleasure. We haven't seen that version of Taylor for some time and it was a relief and a delight to know that he is still in there somewhere. We're all keen to see some more of him this summer!

Thanks Getty Images

Other new talent that stepped up during this series included two of Northern Districts finest- Anton Devcich and Corey Anderson. Devcich is still so new to the international stage that the Bangladeshi commentators couldn't get his name right, and even Danny Morrison was calling him 'Devich'.  His 46 with the bat was a great knock in front of a maddening crowd, but anyone who has followed him play for ND wouldn't have been too surprised by that performance.

Corey Anderson has been consistently good across all the matches he has played. I like his aggression and commitment in the field. He's always busy, and always there. He's that eager border collie on the beach that keeps on running into the waves for the ball and never gets tired! He's got lots more to give this Summer and it will be great to see him against the Windies with the home crowds too.

While I lamented the lack of McCullum behind the stumps, I thought Ronchi was pretty entertaining in the last ODI. There's something satisfying about hearing the constant yapping from behind the stumps and the staccato soundbites as he gave the Blackcaps regular giddyups. I found myself wondering whether he had to have a stash of throaties in his pocket to keep his voice going.

We saw a flash of the old Tim Southee with the ball for a while there too. He's obviously got some more work to do with his ankle injury, but when he is back to full fitness and his former fierce self, we'll be in good hands.
Sure the bowling unit have got some work to do, and no doubt Shane Bond will be working hard with them. But that's what they are over there for- to put the work in and get the experience. Plus of course they are going to learn a whole lot more from their mistakes than they will from their successes.

I'm not giving up on the Blackcaps just yet. No doubt I've got a few more long nights on the sofa ahead. But I'll do it gladly because I know it's not a new low. It's just a slow and difficult climb to the top!

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