Paul Ford November 17, 2008

Ten reasons New Zealand can win

We are going to pick four pace bowlers
100

Daniel Vettori, all-rounder. The greatest No. 8 batsman in the history of Test cricket is, disappointingly, the prized scalp amongst the fresh New Zealand batting line-up. Putting his headline bowling ability and developing captaincy acumen to one side, even Ricky Ponting will recognise that he is the talisman of our effort too. On the other side of the equation, he won’t be batting at number eight in Brisbane – it looks highly likely he will be forced to ratchet himself up the order one spot to No. 7 to accommodate the smorgasbord of medium pace bowlers needed in the XI.

Jamie How is in form. This hasn't happened for a while – in fact he has not made it to 41 in his past seven Test match innings: 29, 40, 19, 16, 36, 8 and 8. He needs to do a better job as the senior member of his opening pairing with Aaron “Son of Rodney” Redmond.

Jesse Ryder is the new messiah of the Black Caps. The New Zealand version of Greg Ritchie is something of an unknown quantity for Australia, and his magnificent timing and utter disdain for bad bowling augurs well if Watson, Clark and Johnson dish up anything short and/or wide. That belligerent streak can be his Achilles heel of course – a la Craig McMillan he tends to occasionally contract a bit of white crease fever that affects his decision-making.

We are going to pick four pace bowlers. We must do so in order to give ourselves a sniff of winning. The sticky weather in Brisbane this week makes it even more likely. The downside of course is that none of them are Richard Hadlee – and not one of them is Shane Bond either. I think it is time we amended the Bring Back Buck banners (a common sight at all NZ sports events, alluding to rugby player Wayne Shelford’s axing from the All Blacks in 1990). Yes, it is time for the Bring Back Bond banners to start appearing with monotonous regularity.

Simon Katich. Are his nicknames really Stiffler and Duck Blaster? Quite odd. More certain is the fact he is ugly but effective in grinding away at one end, while Hayden bludgeons away at the other. Katich is also much more comfortable against Vettori. Brilliantly rebranded as “Simone Cattick” by an Indian journalist during his recent press conference whinge about negative Indian tactics. In the same news item, the two batting Michelles pop up too: Hussey and Clarke. New Zealand couldn’t be beaten by a pack of girls, surely?

We have the best wicketkeeper in the world. Maybe. Of course he is playing as a top-order batsman so his run-making ability needs to take precedence. A savage player on his day, he will be dreaming about Jason Krezja.

Australia is not a Third World country … so Matthew Hayden should feel comfortable. Complacent even. Completely irrelevant but should get a few bites from rabid Indian fans just for mentioning it.

Our top order is made of the wood that Phil Horne was nicknamed after: balsa. In fact if you took a moment to zero in on our most recent 10 opening batting efforts against Australia you would be holding your head in your hands by the end of it. An average first-wicket partnership of 14.8 means the bar is set quite low for the Gabba.

Ricky Ponting is angry. Very angry. Incandescent with rage. He is set to put the devil in Tasmanian Devil. He has the Peter Roebuck voodoo doll in effect. Rumour has it he might even wear that famous gift from his grandmother under his cream Test shirt on Thursday as well: yep, the “Future Australian captain” t-shirt. Hopefully he is distracted enough to not add too many to the pile of runs that sees him sitting pretty as the most prolific scorer of Test runs at the Gabba in history.

New Zealand have not said anything too stupid in the lead-up. The serial offender, coach John Bracewell, appears to have been completely muzzled or perhaps he is speaking in tongues so complicated even journalists can’t crack the code. (Is Braces actually over there?) Of course, the same reporters have manipulated our players' words and headlines to make it sound like we think the Australians used to be good, but now they're rubbish - sample headlines: “Kiwis claim they have the firepower to tackle Oz top order”, “Hands rubbed with glee as empire looks crumbly”, “Black Caps can be number one” and “NZ zero in on Ponting”.

Paul Ford is a co-founder of the Beige Brigade. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • BG on November 21, 2008, 21:17 GMT

    subramanian.g: "It is inevitable mate, Australia is going to win this series 3-0." Inevitable is it? Care to put some money on that? I'll give you good odds. Now let's see... the first test in in Brisbane, the second is in Adelaide ... and ... um ... remind me again where the third test is being played?

  • BG on November 21, 2008, 21:04 GMT

    subramanian.g: The problem is not that Paul wrote this article while drunk, it's that you read this article while sober, uptight and unloved.

    "...and pup bites me.", Indeed.

  • subramanian.g on November 21, 2008, 13:36 GMT

    Paul, your lack of respect for Mike Hussey and pup bites me. Were you flat drunk when you wrote this apology to an article? Isnt this a case of taking a beer room conversation to a reputed cricket website. It is inevitable mate, Australia is going to win this series 3-0. New Zealand is no doubt a good team but it is just not good enough to beat Australia in Australia. I hope and pray that Roy comes good and Haydos finds his magical touch back.

  • redneck on November 21, 2008, 4:05 GMT

    what have you got to say now barra??? prehaps you forgot to take your oponents seriously and got carried away before you even saw new zealand bat!

  • waterbuffalo on November 20, 2008, 18:29 GMT

    "Only the weather Gods can save New Zealand now"-indeed, I don't know about 'saving' but they have certainly helped. Nobody bothered to consider the different pitches in India and the Gabba that the batsmen have to get adjusted to in a week, and now the result is obvious to everyone; it is difficult even for veterans like Hayden and Ponting to change their length, footwork, and to deal with so much movement. Congratulations New Zealand on a brilliant First Day, couldn't happen to a better country, considering all the youngsters you have and how the Aussies were putting you down(like they do everyone else). Your bowlers and fielders have done you proud and hopefully a couple of batsmen can make you just as proud as well. Good Luck!

  • Philpott on November 20, 2008, 11:49 GMT

    How dare you come on here and write stuff that is not a serious analytical diagnosis of the state of NZ cricket. I'm going to go and self harm now.

    Some of you need to lighten the F up. It's NZ cricket...you have to take most (if not all) things tongue firmly in cheek.

  • Barra on November 20, 2008, 7:56 GMT

    As usual, Aussies blow so much wind up their behinds that they foget to actually take an opponent seriously. Weren't you the same guys who said you were going to flog the Poms a few years ago and then India last month. Uh-oh, you just got rolled by a 19 yr old with less than 5 tests and a chubby part timer. Perhaps get your 'All-star 'A'side'to play us and it will be competitive. Kiwis to win this one inside 4 days.

  • S. Bond on November 20, 2008, 6:59 GMT

    Ha ha if i was over there at the gabba it would certainly be game on. However I am not. so my prediction is it will be my mate Jesse who takes it to the Aussies and claims the first game for us. PS. Ponting will struggle if the wickets do anything at all the bunny.

  • Marcus on November 20, 2008, 4:48 GMT

    Maybe you should have mentioned Tim Southee as well- Australia five down for 134 so far, and all of a sudden New Zealand are in front.

  • Mattius on November 19, 2008, 23:25 GMT

    I do not expect new zealand to come close in this series. As far as i see it their only three class players are vettori mcCullum and Taylor. The rest of the team are just going to be passengers i think. The batting line-up is brittle with only taylor averaging over 35 and the bowling line-up, while it may trouble Australia early on a green GABBA track, is likely to really struggle once the deck flattens out a bit. As much as i would like to see a contest i don't think that will happen until the boks come out

  • BG on November 21, 2008, 21:17 GMT

    subramanian.g: "It is inevitable mate, Australia is going to win this series 3-0." Inevitable is it? Care to put some money on that? I'll give you good odds. Now let's see... the first test in in Brisbane, the second is in Adelaide ... and ... um ... remind me again where the third test is being played?

  • BG on November 21, 2008, 21:04 GMT

    subramanian.g: The problem is not that Paul wrote this article while drunk, it's that you read this article while sober, uptight and unloved.

    "...and pup bites me.", Indeed.

  • subramanian.g on November 21, 2008, 13:36 GMT

    Paul, your lack of respect for Mike Hussey and pup bites me. Were you flat drunk when you wrote this apology to an article? Isnt this a case of taking a beer room conversation to a reputed cricket website. It is inevitable mate, Australia is going to win this series 3-0. New Zealand is no doubt a good team but it is just not good enough to beat Australia in Australia. I hope and pray that Roy comes good and Haydos finds his magical touch back.

  • redneck on November 21, 2008, 4:05 GMT

    what have you got to say now barra??? prehaps you forgot to take your oponents seriously and got carried away before you even saw new zealand bat!

  • waterbuffalo on November 20, 2008, 18:29 GMT

    "Only the weather Gods can save New Zealand now"-indeed, I don't know about 'saving' but they have certainly helped. Nobody bothered to consider the different pitches in India and the Gabba that the batsmen have to get adjusted to in a week, and now the result is obvious to everyone; it is difficult even for veterans like Hayden and Ponting to change their length, footwork, and to deal with so much movement. Congratulations New Zealand on a brilliant First Day, couldn't happen to a better country, considering all the youngsters you have and how the Aussies were putting you down(like they do everyone else). Your bowlers and fielders have done you proud and hopefully a couple of batsmen can make you just as proud as well. Good Luck!

  • Philpott on November 20, 2008, 11:49 GMT

    How dare you come on here and write stuff that is not a serious analytical diagnosis of the state of NZ cricket. I'm going to go and self harm now.

    Some of you need to lighten the F up. It's NZ cricket...you have to take most (if not all) things tongue firmly in cheek.

  • Barra on November 20, 2008, 7:56 GMT

    As usual, Aussies blow so much wind up their behinds that they foget to actually take an opponent seriously. Weren't you the same guys who said you were going to flog the Poms a few years ago and then India last month. Uh-oh, you just got rolled by a 19 yr old with less than 5 tests and a chubby part timer. Perhaps get your 'All-star 'A'side'to play us and it will be competitive. Kiwis to win this one inside 4 days.

  • S. Bond on November 20, 2008, 6:59 GMT

    Ha ha if i was over there at the gabba it would certainly be game on. However I am not. so my prediction is it will be my mate Jesse who takes it to the Aussies and claims the first game for us. PS. Ponting will struggle if the wickets do anything at all the bunny.

  • Marcus on November 20, 2008, 4:48 GMT

    Maybe you should have mentioned Tim Southee as well- Australia five down for 134 so far, and all of a sudden New Zealand are in front.

  • Mattius on November 19, 2008, 23:25 GMT

    I do not expect new zealand to come close in this series. As far as i see it their only three class players are vettori mcCullum and Taylor. The rest of the team are just going to be passengers i think. The batting line-up is brittle with only taylor averaging over 35 and the bowling line-up, while it may trouble Australia early on a green GABBA track, is likely to really struggle once the deck flattens out a bit. As much as i would like to see a contest i don't think that will happen until the boks come out

  • Venkat on November 19, 2008, 22:57 GMT

    NZ should not allow the Aussies to settle down from over 1,except Bond no one in the world can do that. Australian top order could not play Zakheer and Ishant in Indian flat pitches.NZ needs Bond now.

    See what you lost because of the BCCI hyopocrisy towards ICL.. See what NZ cricket got from IPL and Bond..

    Bond is always a fear for Australians, Don't loose your Star Player BRING BACK BOND, BRING BACK BOND,BRING BACK BOND

  • Ricky Vettori on November 19, 2008, 9:00 GMT

    Prediction - two tied tests. In both games the first innings will be forfeited by the respective captains for pure entertainment reasons and then each team will bowl no more than 20 overs in the second innings. 2 x 20 Twenty games that will result in ties and NZ being lauded as supreme and Ricky Ponting will get the sack for calling Ryder a Fatty Boom Baa......and finally someone will realise that despite being talented cricketers that Hayden & Symonds are just obnoxious bullies who are as arrogant as Harbijahn Singh and they will get a ruddy good telling off.

    Brett Lee man of the series....Dan Vettori the Kiwi hero.

  • Jason on November 19, 2008, 6:54 GMT

    Apart from a couple of one-sided series it does'nt matter how strong or weak either side is the games usually turn out to be closer than you think.

  • Matt on November 19, 2008, 3:34 GMT

    I don't know why people harp on about retired greats like Fleming and Astle - they have retired and can't be selected any more than the Aussies could recall Dirk Welham or Simon O'Donnell.

    On the Bond matter- it's a tragedy he's not in a position to play- a genuine star, his loss is not only a shame in context of the current series but represents the squandering of a downpayment on the future of NZ cricket - every generation needs their own cricketing heroes to inspire and bring forth the next

    I hope it's a tight series

  • Campbell on November 18, 2008, 22:24 GMT

    what I nearly choked on was when in the Australia/India test series, Gavaskar alluded to the fact that its always sub-continental players getting banned and never Australians. Hinting at racism in Cricket? last time I checked India pretty much owns the sport so I'm pretty sure they aren't being ahrd done by. Im from NZ, but I'd back Australia anyday over India because i dislike how much India plays the victim.

  • waterbuffalo on November 18, 2008, 18:57 GMT

    Ponting should win the toss, put them in and bowl them out for 87 by lunch. Hayden and Ponting should then put on 205/1 decl by Tea (42 overs in the session), only after Simon "I OBVIOUSLY KNOW TEST CRICKET" Katich is out hit wicket for a golden duck, after an extravagant front foot defense to a bouncer sees him knocked square on the jaw and in another extravagant attempt to regain his balance he uses the off stump as a Crutchich(tm). NZ's openers will then survive till about 8 overs before stumps when How will fall, obstructing the fielder after an appeal by Clarke. Mills the night watchman will be bowled trying to smash Lee for six over cover and NZ will be bowled out agonizingly with half a ball left on the first day. Australia win by an innings and 51 runs despite only bowling 36 overs in the game. The next four days should be rained out. AJAX

    Great Post, Ajax, hilarious. I wish you would post more often. Too many kids here who can't spell and don't know cricket. Go Kiwis!!!

  • Laney on November 18, 2008, 12:53 GMT

    Wow how arrogant have the Indian fans (and team) become? Us 'whinging' Aussies had to listen to you moan throughout the recent summer, demanding Umpire Bucknor be stood down, and even threatening to boycott the rest of the tour!!

    Now that you have beaten us in India, on pitches which were tailor-made to your own cricketing style (which in fairness every nation is guilty of), you see fit to behave as childishly and disrespectfully as the likes of Gambhir, Khan and Harbhajan displayed with sportsmanship that almost brings cricket into disrepute!

    As an Australian, I must admit that our 'return to the pack' as it were is good for world cricket, but by god it sickens me to see a team, and a nation in whole, behave the way the Indians have towards Australia. May the best team win, whoever they are.

  • Stu on November 18, 2008, 11:16 GMT

    The thing I have always liked about New Zealand is that they play as a team and don't seem to give up. Even if things are tough they fight on. They may sometimes be outclassed but they don't seem to give in and this speaks a lot for them. I always look forward to NZ versus AUS games.

  • mitch on November 18, 2008, 9:01 GMT

    realistically, bottom line is new zealand will lose. they may not get absolutely flogged, but they won't win, it just won't happen. they are not in the same class as australia even if australia are playing badly. i can guarentee 2-0 victory to australia. and personally would like to see mitch johnson take the heads off some new zealand batsman just because they are no better than bopara of england.

  • Beige Brigade HQ on November 18, 2008, 9:00 GMT

    Anand: Please post the first comment on every entry and riddle it with factual errors - wonderful catalyst!

    Kalyan: I wrote the irrelevant point about Matthew Hayden. Thank you for biting.

    cricketjon: I will pay half.

    HinDu: Are you kidding that batting is not the problem? We were smoked twice at the SCG this week!

    Jeremy: Sinclair is washed up. Let it go. If selected, Bond would come back and play against Aussie every time.

    John: Your pessimism and fury is magnificent. All you need now is a dictionary. Ryder is chubby not mercurial.

    Mark: Terrific insight. Relax!

    Jswann: I am comfortably unprofessional - might be time to swot up on the Beige Brigade.

    dc: Hallelujah!

    apacheindian: Read comment #3 then see dc's comment above. Relax! Plenty of New Zealanders don't take cricket as life and death - we're masochistic about the game (see here: http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominionpost/4761415a6483.html)

  • Richard on November 18, 2008, 8:55 GMT

    I would love NZ to put up a fight but like the majority of you I just don't think we have the firepower. Potential yes but thats not quite firepower is it. "Sometimes my gun works" is not going to help you when you need it.

    Yes we have a chance. I didn't think England would have had the bejesus knocked out of them in the 20/20 and vs India. Cricket is a beautifully leveling game.One of the few sports where you can TRULY get a hiding.

    Flynn has been poor since joining the team. Sure he comes in when we are under pressure but welcome to the middle order of NZ for the last 10 years. He scored really nice hundreds here in some one day games and hasn't been able to do it at the top level. I think confidence rather than skill. Maybe it was the blow vs England.

    Redmond is just not cool. Hard to watch him and enjoy it. Spinner converted to an opener, can anyone say Mark Richardson?

    So while I love NZ and wish the team really well, I won't be suprised if we get aboslutely caned.

  • Adrian on November 18, 2008, 8:44 GMT

    It would be a huge stretch to suggest that New Zealand could win, and I don't think that the above suggests how they could. NZ just lost to NSW in a tour match (and NSW missing their test players, no less). NZ is rattled with injuries and doesn't have their best side available, what with Bond missing. They are in a rebuilding phase. Vettori, McCullum and Ross Taylor will be the cornerstones, as those 3 are better than their Aussie equivalents. For the other 8 players, New Zealand will need to play out of their skins to be a chance. It could happen, perhaps. But it will be more a case of Australia stuffing up that they will need to hope for. But then again, New Zealand often do play out of their skins against Australia. Maybe, just maybe it could happen.

  • jack on November 18, 2008, 8:26 GMT

    Nzl dont really have a chance.sure they hve new guy like southee, but is he going to be able to bowl to the likes of ponting, hussy, hayden. they will terrorise him. the only team tht stands a chance of beating auzzie is india home an away. nz will rely on vettori.... other wise they lack class bowlers, grant elliot? they need to bring in young players such as kane williamson, corey anderson etc... it will no doubt be an interesting series. good luck to the black caps they will need it

  • Richard Hobbs on November 18, 2008, 8:25 GMT

    At the end of the day, to win a test match you need to score runs and take twenty wickets. New Zealand can do neither. As a spectator with great bias towards NZ that just says how utterly pathetic the team is at the moment. They actually cannot score runs. The top order is looking as frail as a Bangladeshi 3rd grade under 13s club side. The top order is full of mediocrity and under performance. It almost makes me want to hark back to the terrible days of Darren Murray, Rod Latham, Blair Hartland and Lee Germon. I want to watch the test series against Australia, but class will prevail. Everyone is saying India will knock Australia off their no 1 perch. But I can't realistically see Australia losing a test series at home for a long, long time to come. Once again it will be an absolute thrashing. Good luck to you NZ, I'll be supporting you, because you definitely need it!

  • dada on November 18, 2008, 8:15 GMT

    i disagree with people saying that symonds makes a big difference. He is a cry baby pointing king-singh for each of his wrong doing. Its funny to see his remarks regarding his exile from aus team. NZ are having a great opportunity to win. They have nothing to lose since they are fielding in some new and young faces to get going. whereas after a major defeat aus are in a situation to prove their mettle. Playing with that sort of pressure will surely backfire. So this is a great chance for newzealand... my bet is on 0-0 or 1-0 in favour of newzaland...

  • Ben G on November 18, 2008, 8:07 GMT

    I believe McCullum is as good as any keep/bat in the world, bar Sangakkara. However, he is a victim of an undermanned NZ team and is not a top order test bat. Put him back to 7 or 8 and watch the runs flow.

  • Sunil on November 18, 2008, 7:57 GMT

    Even though NZ is good side it is very very hard for them to beat AUS. For simple reason check the averages of their players. The always perform in bits and pices. and in test match you need to preform as team. Even if you see the Bangladesh tour they got troubled in every match. their is only on difference in both team and that was Daniel Vettori. and comparing to AUS one man can not make such differance as still AUS in one of Best Test side. Also its home ground and big differance is return of Andrew Simmonds.

  • Don on November 18, 2008, 7:53 GMT

    Vettori has top scored and bowled the best in most games this year. He carried them through Bangladesh and performed all throughout England. He can't do it all - not against the Aussies.

    He'll need How/Taylor to score runs and some great fielding.....

  • ASG Khan on November 18, 2008, 7:48 GMT

    First up, to win you need positive outlook. reading NZies comments makes you feel they already have given up. Remember, paper stats are useless, it is the performance on that given date which matters. Believe in your self, go for the jugular, and lets see who flinches first. Go NZ go!

  • Welsh on November 18, 2008, 7:28 GMT

    I think the aussies are in for a suprise in the 2 test series...Although the team is relatively fresh, players such as Fulton, Taylor, McCullum and Vettori have had good success in recent times against the aussies (e.g. don;t forget the 3-0 thrashing of Australia in the 2005/2006 ODI series in NZ -sure it wasn't test match cricket but certainly food for thought considering Johnson and Watson got smashed by those batsmen on nearly every occasion). In addition How is in form and Ryder has the potential to destroy the aussie bowlers with his aggressive approach to batting. Therefore I think the kiwis have the potential to post some competitive scores now they have had a couple of badly played warm up games in which to identify and rectify any problem areas with their batting. On the flipside, the bowling is not particularly strong. Martin amd Mills are challenging when they are on form and Gillespie has shown to be a handful in recent times, but it will be Vetorri and Southee who shine..

  • Alex J on November 18, 2008, 7:23 GMT

    Heres 4 reasons why NZ WON'T win - - Their best bat is a front line spinner coming in at 8. - They just got beaten by a NSW side with an average age of 22, including a 17 yo who skittled them. - Anyone half decent has left for the ICL/IPL (Bond, Vincent etc) - Bangladesh just gave them a run for their money, a side that shouldnt be allowed to play cricket longer than 1 day (although their tests dont last much longer!).

  • Brad on November 18, 2008, 7:19 GMT

    I think its time for NZ to improve their records against Aussies...they have good players while OZ have new generation ,mostly young and inexperinced and have low in confidence. But its the upto the psychological advantage....

  • jack on November 18, 2008, 7:16 GMT

    Forget batting. The easy way to predict a game is to look at bowling.

    Who do NZ have? Southee!

    Mentally rank these bowlers: Lee, Johnson, Marsh and Southee. NZ have no hope.

    Lastly, Tait is unplayable at the moment - easily the most dangerous fast bowler in the world. If picked (and WHY, WHY oh WHY wouldn't he be), perhaps australia COULD win 3-0!

    Bring on the Tater!!

  • dont hate on bazza on November 18, 2008, 7:11 GMT

    dont hate on bazza he is the most ruthless batsmen in the world he will put all you critics to shame bad back or not.

  • Anindo on November 18, 2008, 6:57 GMT

    Casual Observer, you cannot compare wicketkeepers on the basis of an overly simplistic metric like dismissals/inns. Dismissals effected by a wicketkeeper are a function of the opportunities created by the bowlers. For a predominantly pace-based attack like South Africa's (more than 1000 test wickets between Donald,Pollock and Ntini) it is not surprising that a lot more opportunities came Boucher's way than for Sangakkara or Dhoni.

    P.S: I'm not denying that Boucher is a better wicketkeeper than the other two.

  • Dmitri on November 18, 2008, 6:54 GMT

    My prediction is NZ to lose the first match and draw the second. This series will enable NZ to pick their batting lineup options from How, Redmond, Taylor, Fulton, Ryder, Flynn. Vettori and McCullum can bat already but NZ needs 4 of the other six to shine if the team is to have any future. Also, why no Styris in tests these days?

  • Mako on November 18, 2008, 6:53 GMT

    Why do people persist on naming retired and ICL players in their ideal team for the first test, or any test for that matter? Don't you people get it, they are not going to play! Matthew Sinclair is in the same boat.

  • dada on November 18, 2008, 6:47 GMT

    Am expecting a good Oz-Nz series since aus are not a world beating team now. they are prone to defeats now. these australian current batsmen suffers a lot against a rather inexperienced but very talented Ishant. So if the newzealanders have that fire power and the confidence to make a match out of it then they can. Also regarding the best wicketkeeper batsman i think that sanga is the best compared to boucher. he averages way ahead in batting than boucher. Also we have to wait for 3 more years to rate dhoni's ability as the best wicketkeeper batsman. but a thing for sure is that dhoni is now one of the best wicketkeeper batsman and a great leader.

  • Sue Ridgepipe on November 18, 2008, 6:33 GMT

    Good news Kiwis - it is bucketing down over here in BrisVegas and expected to continue for the next 3 days....atleast.

  • Richard on November 18, 2008, 6:19 GMT

    it will be very hard for nz to draw let alone win. however if you got the likes of How , Mccullum, Ryder, Vettori and martin all to fire in the same test. you never Know

  • Bring Back Bond on November 18, 2008, 6:12 GMT

    I agree totally with 'Wally' and 'Zak' our team has been thrown a hospital pass here having to step it up in vs Aus in Aus when we have just lost the majority of our decent cricketers. In the last season or 2 we have lost Astle Fleming Styris (tests) Macca Vincent Fulton (Dropped sadly) BOND (The Anti-Aussie Missile) to name but a few. Vettori is practically a one man side at the moment with Taylor throwing away his wicket after 30, McCullum not turning 50s > 100s , and Oram and Martin (at least hes returning) out with injuries. I disagree with Redmond, he is unproven at any level hes had quite a few digs vs Eng and Bangladesh and only produced one score over 25. Flynn will be ok for the future if he didnt block half volleys to fielders all the time. I would have loved to see a How,Vincent,Fleming,Taylor,Astle,Oram,McCullum, Vettori, Mills, Bond, Martin side - with Southee, Ryder, Patel on board. (Styris and Cairns :P)

    Aussie 2-0 both in 4 days, NZ batting creamed with 1 or 2 peaks.

  • an aNZac on November 18, 2008, 6:10 GMT

    NZ we love our cricket but there are more people playing the game in Sydney makes it kind of a challange to go up against the entire nation but we will give it a go.In my opinion we are on par with the state sides,would love to see Vetorri, McCullum etc in an Aussie side against one of the state sides. Little bit of food for thought.The kiwis will have to punch way above there weight but you can't take that away from us we generally do.

  • Anil Sehrawat on November 18, 2008, 6:09 GMT

    Hi Guys, I know that new zealand doesnt performe upto their ability in tests but dont forget that a series against the aussies get the best out of them, so we shld wait unitil the first test finises to see how ot goes, as per my prediction it ll be 0-0.

  • AJAX on November 18, 2008, 5:45 GMT

    Ponting should win the toss, put them in and bowl them out for 87 by lunch. Hayden and Ponting should then put on 205/1 decl by Tea (42 overs in the session), only after Simon "I OBVIOUSLY KNOW TEST CRICKET" Katich is out hit wicket for a golden duck, after an extravagant front foot defense to a bouncer sees him knocked square on the jaw and in another extravagant attempt to regain his balance he uses the off stump as a Crutchich(tm). NZ's openers will then survive till about 8 overs before stumps when How will fall, obstructing the fielder after an appeal by Clarke. Mills the night watchman will be bowled trying to smash Lee for six over cover and NZ will be bowled out agonizingly with half a ball left on the first day. Australia win by an innings and 51 runs despite only bowling 36 overs in the game. The next four days should be rained out.

  • rory on November 18, 2008, 5:44 GMT

    everyone is going on about NZ not taking 20 wickets, i dont think the ozzies can either, they lack a half decent spinner and pace bowlers at the moment arent performing

    with all the talent and potential in Nzs line up i expect them to come right as all NZers save their best against the austrailians

  • waterbuffalo on November 18, 2008, 5:29 GMT

    New Zealand should play Pakistan. Bring your own booze. You will need it, and may I suggest playing Vettori at Number 3. Maybe Astle can be your coach, at least he was a world class batsman.

  • Casual observer on November 18, 2008, 5:16 GMT

    Just to comment on an earlier post by Paulimus_Prime: Sangakara and Dhoni are no doubt very impressive players on good current form. However, although he is getting a little long-in-the-tooth Mark Boucher is still tops as wicketkeeper-batsman. Check his overall record vs Dhoni and Sangakara. Runs: Bouch 4372 @ ave. 30; Sang 6356 @ 55; Dhoni 1725 @ 36.7. Sangakara is very impressive. Dismissals: Bouch 449 @ 1.995/inns; Sang 149 @ 1.655; Dhoni 93 @ 1.500. Boucher is way superior.

    A batting ave of 30 is respectable for a man who comes in late and bats very unselfishly, but not as good as Sang or Dhoni. Still, the latter two don't have nearly enough dismissals, and at an ave/inns that doesn't challenge Boucher. At present they are more batsmen/keeper than keeper/batsmen.

  • Zak on November 18, 2008, 5:00 GMT

    I agree with much of the sentiment surrounding Vincent, Sinclair, Styris, Bond etc. In order for NZ to be competitive in Australia the following line-up should be there - How, Vincent, Fleming/Sinclair, Taylor, Styris, Oram, McCullum, Vettori, Mills, Bond, Martin. While Fleming is the obvious choice at first drop Skippy inconsistenties aside is very capable at test level and on the back of his big scores should have been persisted with. McMillan has a decent test average and always played with positivity against Oz but Styris edges him out with his bowling and determined batting. Fulton is worthy of a place at 1st drop given his recent form. But as usual at the end of the day the side that will be fielded is arguably our best team ignoring early retirements, defections etc. Good luck to the boys. A little self belief goes a long way.

  • Brian on November 18, 2008, 4:50 GMT

    Back in 2001, New Zealand has by there standards quite a good side with allrounders such as Cairns and Nash. The batting was definitely better then and they batted further down the order than they will in this series. Not being a regular betting man, I put $5 down on a drawn series in 2001 and happened to pick up $250 for my efforts - this was based on the strong batting lineup (by New Zealand standards) and 10 day weather forecast going into the first test. However, this time around, New Zealand's batting is just too inexperienced and inconsistent. Can only expect 1 or 2 batsman to fire each innings expecting innings totals to average 250 to 275. Based on this, I won't be putting any money on New Zealand this time around.

  • Kim on November 18, 2008, 4:43 GMT

    I hope you Kiwis in the toss and bat well so we can have a game. 3 day tests are so boring. When did Australia last lose a test at the Gabba? Not this century!

  • JB-HIFI on November 18, 2008, 4:43 GMT

    All the aussies have to do is let Krezja bowl. He will take 20 wickets for 800 runs and make the game interesting.

    Go Kiwi's !

  • apacheindian on November 18, 2008, 4:41 GMT

    About 40 comments old and I see the first one referring to the 3rd world status of India. Pretty good refrain from "rabid" third world Indian fans don't you think? Just goes to show how lame the post is that the author resorts to inserting random insults to generate feedback.

  • Crassus on November 18, 2008, 4:40 GMT

    Those expecting a hard fought series are likely to be disappointed, unfortunately. NZ struggled to put down Bangladesh, so they're hardly likely to give Australia a run for their money.

    Vettori, McCullum and Martin are competent international performers at test level. There are several others who might become that, given time. However, it is frankly ridiculous to expect them to beat this Australian team in Oz. A man-for-man comparison of the batting and strike bowling options show this. If manage to avoid losing by an innings on each occasion that would be a creditable performance in my book. I think we'll see a much better series against India in NZ conditions next year.

  • salim shaikh on November 18, 2008, 4:38 GMT

    I think NZ has the confidence to fight aussie coz if you see the previous records they are good enough to give a thrash to aussie. Also at present after the series with india, aussie has to still gain the confidence to beat NZ and they know well that they are under pressure. NZ side is inexperieced but they are good in outfield and the most important is their confidence level. i have seen many times NZ are very close to aussie even in aussie or any part of world they are really very good. SA, India and NZ are the best side to give a thrash to Aussie. Dont forget also now the confidence level of aussie is going down after the elimination of Gilchrist, Mcgrath, Shane warne. So we can think of NZ, after all its cricket anything is possible. When aussie was in good form, NZ have won against them and at present Aussie are suffering to get a single win. So NZ will be the one to win over them.

  • Marcus on November 18, 2008, 4:37 GMT

    If India was a second-world country, wouldn't that mean that they were Communist?

  • Campbell on November 18, 2008, 4:33 GMT

    love the comment about someone trying to put Dhoni into the position of "2nd best keeper-batsman" in the game. By far he is not. He may be a good batsman, but Mcullum is easily the most acrobatic of keepers. Sangakara is the best due to his form in both batting and keeping. But it tires me to listen to the idolisation of Dhoni.

  • JohnGower on November 18, 2008, 4:15 GMT

    if Aus bat first NZ may have a slim chance else a hiding for sure as the top order batting is really quite weak in regards to all the batsmen being able to score in the same innings which they will need to do. the bowling is OK but will lack penetration when conditions flatten out. 2 spinners would probably actually be better believeit or not. Mccullum will need to show that if he gets a start he can actually nut it out which is missing from his game and cost him a few test tons, Brendon learn to assess when to atttack and when to plod for awhile then go again. Ryder exciting. Taylor exciting, Mccullum exciting, Vettori exciting, others not so exciting. my inital pick is for How to get a dud LBW or two early as per usual in Australia for any batsmen looking like having a good tour. Please Kiwis dont give the inexperienced aussie players the brilliant start to their career as you usually do and McCullum dont drop sitters such as the one against Amla which savd his career & cost 200

  • Steve on November 18, 2008, 4:10 GMT

    Its not going to be a good tour for New Zealand overall, but for a few of the younger guys it will help them to gain some confidence in their own ability. I think How will have good test series and finally convert from a promising 50 maker to a hundred clubber. Daniel Flynn will impress the aussie media and be a dogged middle order fighter who might average in the 40's for the test series and be the find of the tour for NZ.

    As for McCullum, for how long does someone have potential without moving to the next level? He has played a good deal of tests now and needs to produce now, not next year or the year after. He is just a good one day slogger at this point in his career. World class players score runs, not potentially score runs.

  • Ganesh Balaraman on November 18, 2008, 3:54 GMT

    Go, New Zealand, Go.

    I hope you guys give those 'first world' jokers a 2-0 thrashing, and then the Safers also give them a 3-0 beating. Maybe they will stop whining after getting beaten at home.

  • Devang on November 18, 2008, 3:43 GMT

    India is far from a third world country, seriously? Second world yes, but third world? get real.

  • Grego on November 18, 2008, 3:38 GMT

    Please correct me if I'm wrong here....but aren't there more cricketers in Sydney than in all of NZ? Having said that I know the Kiwis hate all those repeated comments about punching above their weight and all that (in all sports). I'm sure the contests will be played in the right spirit; I just hope the media sit back and enjoy some tough, uncompromising cricket (alot of that will depend on the efforts of the Blackcaps). Last time they went through Oz there was a load of bull churned up by the media surrounding Shaun Tait etc...

    If the Blackcaps can follow their skipper's lead and show some real guts & determination the supporters of both teams will be happy.

  • dc on November 18, 2008, 3:36 GMT

    satire lads, ever heard of it? don't take this article too seriously... :)

  • Mikey61 on November 18, 2008, 3:05 GMT

    We are basically no chance. The attack is barely Aussie state level the batting is about Sydney 2nd grade the coach is Oamaru under 12 ability. Essentially the improvement won`t show until we get a decent coach i`ve only been saying it for 6 yrs.Pay Bracewell out of his contract get Greg Shipperd or Matthew Mott in and watch us go then.

  • Paul Taylor on November 18, 2008, 3:05 GMT

    I don't think it will even be 3-0, looking the at the forecast for Brisbane (where it has been raining for the past 2 or 3 days) it looks like the rain will continue for another few days. The first day or 2 of the match may be interrupted or wash out, of course forecasts change so it might be different by Thursday.

  • Ash on November 18, 2008, 3:00 GMT

    I trust NZ to put up a good fight. They may not have the players, but they have the grit, determination and steel. Aussies - underrate them at your own risk!

  • Yaoman on November 18, 2008, 2:52 GMT

    "I rekon NZ is capable of posting 400+ scores in this tour, batting is not the problem (believe it or not) "

    Mate, they'll be pretty happy if they score 200 only.

  • Mark on November 18, 2008, 2:33 GMT

    Even though Australia have what looks to be an average team compared to recent years, NZ clearly have an even weaker team. They will struggle to seriously compete and will show why they are ranked 7th as a test team.

    In the absence of Oram, they really only have one "star" player in Vettori. The batting looks weak and the bowling average. Jesse Ryder could prove to be useful but hasn;t played at this level. McCullum may have a quick-fire score in an innings somewher but likely to get himself out early.

    In 2001 I expected the team to do ok. This time around I expect very little from the team. They will need a huge effort from the newer guys if they want to look even vaguely competitive.

    I'd love to see them do well but I'm not holding my breathe....

  • nedz on November 18, 2008, 2:15 GMT

    too bad sangakara doesn't keep in tests...then maybe you could call him the best wicketkeeper/batsman

  • Squizza on November 18, 2008, 1:47 GMT

    Yes it is likely that NZ will lose both test, but we arent going to roll over and take it. New Zealanders only know how to fight till the end. We are a small country with a limited talent pool which is easily persuaded when money is involved. There is only so much money NZC can pay....so lucrative deals like the ICL are hardly ever passed up....that is why small cricket nations like NZ suffer when the best departs. Look what happened to Bangladesh. All teams need to go through a rebuilding phase at some stage, like Australia is going through, so I personally think that it will be a lot closer then every one expects!!

  • Jswann on November 18, 2008, 1:36 GMT

    I don't know, but as a New Zealander myself I found myself cringing as I read this article, "the two batting Michelles pop up too: Hussey and Clarke. New Zealand couldn’t be beaten by a pack of girls, surely?" amongst other quotes which just reek of unprofessionalism even when taken with tongue wedged firmly in cheek.

    The Australian team are a very good team, and they deserve respect for that, I think this test series will be a good one, and I think if they pull together the Black Caps have a great chance of pulling off a draw at the least.

    I must say howeverm as much as i'd rather not admit it - Australia will be in formidable form and will really push NZ to their limits and the only way we can win against the aussies is by rising ourselves to that challenge.

    Back onto my main point though, this article is weak and shows a complete lack of respect for the skills of what is a very strong Australian team. Dissapointing even for a NZ'er like me.

  • Harbhajan Symonds on November 18, 2008, 1:17 GMT

    Australia will lose by an innings and 500+ in both tests!

  • Erik on November 18, 2008, 1:10 GMT

    As long as we're listing solid players who have been driven away from NZ cricket by the perpetual poor management/coaching, don't forget about Hamish Marshall (and nearly, Jesse Ryder). In my more optimistic moments, I can imagine the kiwis grinding out a draw in Brisbane and stealing a win in Adelaide for a series win. :)

  • Vipin on November 18, 2008, 1:08 GMT

    Australia shouldn't have an excuse now. They are after all a 'First Class' country playing at home and should complete the overs pretty quickly with time to spare! Hayden would score a double hundred isn't it Hayden? New Zealand is a modest country but is it a first class country or a second class ? Australia would beat New Zealand and would again claim to be number 1. Self glory mates !!!

  • litezinc on November 18, 2008, 1:06 GMT

    A very good read. I liked the article because it sounds very funny but not far from the truth. Simone Cattick part was real funny. How did you reach there? I hope you keep finding some thing like this. If you could point something from Australian channel when they say Game-Bir to Gambhir or Doni to "Dhoni". Seeing Australians ball in India, it really looks like if some body just stand still there with Bat, it would take at least 20 balls to get him. I am expecting 0-0 at most if not 1-0 to NZ.

  • Matthew on November 18, 2008, 0:55 GMT

    All this talk of a great series is going to disappoint many people. Lets facce it, as a New Zealander I am aware that McCullum seems incapable of putting potential into test performances, and while ryder, taylor and how look like prospects they are all guilty of throwing away there wickets. Flynn should have a good tour, gaining more respect for him, as will Vettori and the only other batsman who doesnt throw away his wicket, Redmond, will make low scores due to the fact he just isnt up to the challenge of test cricket. Our best domestic openers fail internationally on a consistent basis and we have low depth (Bell who failed against England just scored 146. Our bowling will not take 20 wickets, Martin and Vettori will bowl consistently but Mills is unlikely to be a threat outside swing friendly conditions and selectors are unlikely to try out Gillespie who is a strike bowler, but a expensive one (Check test record)

  • Stuart on November 18, 2008, 0:52 GMT

    I think Aus will win both tests comfortably, mainly due to a pretty average batting lineup (New Zealand didn't even bat well against Bangladesh). I think New Zealand player management has been poor and they have ruined potential by dropping them. Me, being a loyal New Zealand supporter, still cannot believe we lost the 2nd test in England. New players such as Taylor, How, Ryder, Flynn should have been introduced to the international level along side experienced batsman but we just don't have any.

  • Dunk on November 18, 2008, 0:22 GMT

    Sangakara is the best Wicketkeeper/ Batsman by far at present, New Zealand will lose 2 zip, first test will be a wash out.

  • nswan on November 18, 2008, 0:09 GMT

    Jeremy has it. We don't have the depth at all to cut it. We could have, but with axings left right and centre, who can blame our top players heading overseas?! is it simply a coincidence that our top players have left since Bracewell took over? some might argue that they were nearing retirement anyway. But when you look at the likes of Mat Sinclair and even Lou Vincent, im certain these two would be mainstays in the NZ top order if sense and stability prevailed. Our NZ top order and team overall looks young, promising but presently, very weak, Bracewell has to take atleast some of the blame for that. the exodus is just too large to ignore

  • Jonathan on November 18, 2008, 0:01 GMT

    Anand, only New Zealand could manage a 0-3 whitewash in a 2 Test series!

  • Raghav on November 17, 2008, 23:59 GMT

    May be Aussie bowlers are not in that great form. And eventually now the team is not quite unity as there were some saying that Ricky and Brett lee don't have some good relationship between them....

  • Wally on November 17, 2008, 23:58 GMT

    ......then make an easy $400 by putting it on Australia to win the first test on Thursday.

  • Wally on November 17, 2008, 23:57 GMT

    I think it is unlikely NZ will be beaten 3 – 0, as bad as we are I think in a two test series we have the ability to limit the damage to 0 – 2. Also I fully agree that big Jacob Oram is world class, however his impact with be limited by the fact he is currently on a physio’s table in Palmerston North. Don’t get me wrong it’s not all bad McCullum and Vettori are world class and How, Ryder, Taylor and Southee are all great prospects for the future, but NZ Cricket must be lamenting the fact that this side should still include Fleming, Astle, Styris and Bond. A side with those four experienced and proven cricketers along with the ability of Ryder, How, Taylor and Southee the class of Vettori and McCullum and an injury free Oram with support from the hard working Chris Martin would really setup a great series against the champion Australians on the decline. However, that won’t happen and the Black Caps will get smashed. If you have a spare grand lying around double check the weather for

  • AP on November 17, 2008, 23:57 GMT

    Unfortunately Oram is ruled out of this series with a back injury. NZ will have to punch well above their weight to make inroads on this journey..

  • Luke on November 17, 2008, 23:54 GMT

    Anand, So you think it will be a 0-3 white wash?.. now thats a thrashing considering it is only a 2 test series.

  • andrew schulz on November 17, 2008, 23:47 GMT

    Great start to the comments. It could well be one-sided Anand, but it may be stretching it to expect a 3-0 win in a 2 match series. And it may or may not affect your prediction to know that Oram has been ruled out some time ago.

  • ram on November 17, 2008, 23:42 GMT

    I don't think it was a mockery but rather a honest take on NZ's chances. It was expressed with a funny tone though which might have made you think otherwise.

  • Mark on November 17, 2008, 23:34 GMT

    Pretty crap article, don't quit your day job.

    Anand - If we go down 3-0 i'll be incredibly disappointed, mainly because its a 2 match series. I don't even think NZ can pull that one off. Also, Oram is out with injury. Likely to return for the first home test of the summer against the West Indies.

  • John on November 17, 2008, 22:57 GMT

    Firstly, it is a two test series. Secondly, do you have any firther cliches to add to that amazingly insightful commentary? Perhaps Ryder is mercurial? The fact of the matter is that McCullum is a poor technical batter,w ho will be found out on the extra bounce of pitches that Australian pitches like the Gabba offer, Oram against Bangladesh was bowling reguarly under the 120 mark (in the 110-115), he is injury prone and not up to the mark, after playing some of the greatest spinners in the world in India, do you think the Aussies are going to throw their wickets away against Vettori a tight spinner but also one who does not have much penetration? With no real fast bowling support at the other end, I can't see the NZ'ers taking 20 wickets, unless the Australians run like they did ala 4th test. The cricket will be low quality, the Aussies wil thrash with them as they have much to proe to the local media, and expect a pathetic showing from the vallant Kiwis

  • Jez on November 17, 2008, 22:41 GMT

    I hate to point out that this is only a 2 match 'series', which you have to consider a contradiction in terms and the real reason for NZ's poor showing at this level.

    Also Oram is out injured, Baz has a broken back and Mills hasn't looked like taking a wicket in months.

  • Marcus on November 17, 2008, 22:33 GMT

    New Zealand have never had a team full of brilliant players, but they're one of only two teams in the last decade to really push us on our home soil- I'm thinking of 2001 when they fought us to a standstill with a team that wasn't much better on paper than this one is now. I expect Australia to win, of course, but I also expect New Zealand to compete.

    There's another positive you forgot to mention- the presence of Danil Flynn, in that Australia have often struggled to dismiss the really gritty type of middle-order batsman in recent times (eg. Chanderpaul, Collingwood, Rudolph) and if Flynn doesn't look like becoming the next Chanderpaul, he does at least look like becoming another Jacques Rudolph.

  • Jeremy on November 17, 2008, 22:30 GMT

    The only reason New Zealand is strugling is because of poor selections and a poor coach. Where is Matthew Sinclear, Lue Vincent, Scott Styris, Craig McMillian and not to mention the treatment of Shane Bond. In my opinion Mathew Sinclear should have been a sure selection for the last 8 years how can you expect a guy to perform when he plays a test and is then dumped then selected a year later for another test then dumped. And the retirements of McMillian and Styris from test cricket have alot to do with the coach and their dropings over the last 3 years. Lue Vincent isnt a huge loss but you cant forget the guy scored a hundred on debut against Australia is the series they drew and should have one in Australia. And the biggest loss of all Shane Bond who has recently said he will never play for New Zealand again even if eligable because of the way he was treated by New Zealand cricket who assured him he could play for the ICL and they would still select him.

  • Josh on November 17, 2008, 22:26 GMT

    Anand, even NZ aren't that bad, that they would lose a two test series 0-3.

    Given the current weather conditions in Brisbane, they could challenge for a draw. The usual NZ tactic. Should be a good game if NZ batsmen can get their eye in and avoid the slog, as they tend to do against Australia. The on day matches may be closer.

    I am interested to see NZ hyped youngsters, Southee (77 of 40 balls against Eng.) and Ryder go against us.

  • Ben on November 17, 2008, 22:12 GMT

    Sorry Anand they can't look at a 0-3 whitewash - there's only 2 tests being plated! NZ suck at tests as they are just that - a test - in limited overs cricket (why aren't tests considered limited overs cricket - there is a limit - 450 overs!) we look much better because we can bludgeon and fluke our way out of situations. Over days and days we just can't cut it. we are going to get thrashed in these tests. my guess is we will get annihilated in one, and beaten by just say, 100 runs or 6 wickets in the other.

  • HinDu on November 17, 2008, 21:22 GMT

    Oram isn't playing mate, and Brendon hasn't done much since 158 in India (20/20), though i agree he has the potential to be great, it doesn't look like he's going about it the right way. I rekon NZ is capable of posting 400+ scores in this tour, batting is not the problem (believe it or not) - the boys prefer quicker wickets compared to slow dry pitches of the sub-continent and they'll remember the 01 effort, vettori was there. Our bowlers are weak and to win a game we need to take 20 wickets. That doesn't look like happening.

  • Paulimus_Prime on November 17, 2008, 21:13 GMT

    I'm sick of everyone saying McCullum is a great batsmen and the best keeper-batsmen in the world he's in the top 3 but not the best. Dhoni and Sangakara have far superior records, while McCullum has a lot of potential at test level it is still only that potential. I think Ryder and Taylor (who has done well against Aussie and in Aussie) will do alright as they both like the ball coming on and hit the ball very hard. Also if Fulton plays he has a good record at international level and was unlucky to be dropped and left out for so long so we might surprise a few people with the fight we put up, of course my head is saying we will still loose both test inside 4 days but one can dream! :D

  • cricketjon on November 17, 2008, 20:32 GMT

    Anand, If it is a 3-0 whitewash to either side I will personally pay the NZ tour fees myself

  • Shifter on November 17, 2008, 19:26 GMT

    NZ will get hammered. They have nowhere near the class of Australia. Sure they have some talented players, but having talent and turning it into success are two different things. Only the weather gods can save NZ now.

  • Kalyan on November 17, 2008, 19:20 GMT

    I guess NZ will miss Bond. I hope NZC places country's result ahead of business and bring him back but then even Cricinfo knows who rules world cricket. Otherwise they wouldn't have placed the irrelevant point about Mathew Hayden.

  • Damien Martyn on November 17, 2008, 19:06 GMT

    i think the ozzies r gonna be thrashed !!

  • Anand on November 17, 2008, 18:40 GMT

    I guess this is making too much mockery of NZL. I agree that they have a relatively inexperienced team and are staring at a possible 0-3 whitewash. But that has more to do with inexperience than with lack of talent. I always rated NZL a good side who rely on team work than on individual brilliance. They are a bunch of hard working cricketers led by an astute captain (who is arguably the best left arm spinner in current world cricket). They will miss the servoces of Fleming, Cairns and Bond but do have some youngsters who can take responsibilities and rise to the occasion. Remeber they still have Oram one of the best allrounders in current cricket and McCullum arguably the most savage wk batsman after Gilchrist. We have seen in the recent past that they have always give Australia a run for their money and I wouldnt be surprised if they do so again. I really look forward to watch a hard fought series with high quality cricket.

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  • Anand on November 17, 2008, 18:40 GMT

    I guess this is making too much mockery of NZL. I agree that they have a relatively inexperienced team and are staring at a possible 0-3 whitewash. But that has more to do with inexperience than with lack of talent. I always rated NZL a good side who rely on team work than on individual brilliance. They are a bunch of hard working cricketers led by an astute captain (who is arguably the best left arm spinner in current world cricket). They will miss the servoces of Fleming, Cairns and Bond but do have some youngsters who can take responsibilities and rise to the occasion. Remeber they still have Oram one of the best allrounders in current cricket and McCullum arguably the most savage wk batsman after Gilchrist. We have seen in the recent past that they have always give Australia a run for their money and I wouldnt be surprised if they do so again. I really look forward to watch a hard fought series with high quality cricket.

  • Damien Martyn on November 17, 2008, 19:06 GMT

    i think the ozzies r gonna be thrashed !!

  • Kalyan on November 17, 2008, 19:20 GMT

    I guess NZ will miss Bond. I hope NZC places country's result ahead of business and bring him back but then even Cricinfo knows who rules world cricket. Otherwise they wouldn't have placed the irrelevant point about Mathew Hayden.

  • Shifter on November 17, 2008, 19:26 GMT

    NZ will get hammered. They have nowhere near the class of Australia. Sure they have some talented players, but having talent and turning it into success are two different things. Only the weather gods can save NZ now.

  • cricketjon on November 17, 2008, 20:32 GMT

    Anand, If it is a 3-0 whitewash to either side I will personally pay the NZ tour fees myself

  • Paulimus_Prime on November 17, 2008, 21:13 GMT

    I'm sick of everyone saying McCullum is a great batsmen and the best keeper-batsmen in the world he's in the top 3 but not the best. Dhoni and Sangakara have far superior records, while McCullum has a lot of potential at test level it is still only that potential. I think Ryder and Taylor (who has done well against Aussie and in Aussie) will do alright as they both like the ball coming on and hit the ball very hard. Also if Fulton plays he has a good record at international level and was unlucky to be dropped and left out for so long so we might surprise a few people with the fight we put up, of course my head is saying we will still loose both test inside 4 days but one can dream! :D

  • HinDu on November 17, 2008, 21:22 GMT

    Oram isn't playing mate, and Brendon hasn't done much since 158 in India (20/20), though i agree he has the potential to be great, it doesn't look like he's going about it the right way. I rekon NZ is capable of posting 400+ scores in this tour, batting is not the problem (believe it or not) - the boys prefer quicker wickets compared to slow dry pitches of the sub-continent and they'll remember the 01 effort, vettori was there. Our bowlers are weak and to win a game we need to take 20 wickets. That doesn't look like happening.

  • Ben on November 17, 2008, 22:12 GMT

    Sorry Anand they can't look at a 0-3 whitewash - there's only 2 tests being plated! NZ suck at tests as they are just that - a test - in limited overs cricket (why aren't tests considered limited overs cricket - there is a limit - 450 overs!) we look much better because we can bludgeon and fluke our way out of situations. Over days and days we just can't cut it. we are going to get thrashed in these tests. my guess is we will get annihilated in one, and beaten by just say, 100 runs or 6 wickets in the other.

  • Josh on November 17, 2008, 22:26 GMT

    Anand, even NZ aren't that bad, that they would lose a two test series 0-3.

    Given the current weather conditions in Brisbane, they could challenge for a draw. The usual NZ tactic. Should be a good game if NZ batsmen can get their eye in and avoid the slog, as they tend to do against Australia. The on day matches may be closer.

    I am interested to see NZ hyped youngsters, Southee (77 of 40 balls against Eng.) and Ryder go against us.

  • Jeremy on November 17, 2008, 22:30 GMT

    The only reason New Zealand is strugling is because of poor selections and a poor coach. Where is Matthew Sinclear, Lue Vincent, Scott Styris, Craig McMillian and not to mention the treatment of Shane Bond. In my opinion Mathew Sinclear should have been a sure selection for the last 8 years how can you expect a guy to perform when he plays a test and is then dumped then selected a year later for another test then dumped. And the retirements of McMillian and Styris from test cricket have alot to do with the coach and their dropings over the last 3 years. Lue Vincent isnt a huge loss but you cant forget the guy scored a hundred on debut against Australia is the series they drew and should have one in Australia. And the biggest loss of all Shane Bond who has recently said he will never play for New Zealand again even if eligable because of the way he was treated by New Zealand cricket who assured him he could play for the ICL and they would still select him.