Paul Ford February 24, 2009

Why NZ won't do India any favours

Gagging for the cricket to begin so we can all stop banging on about paymasters, financial windfalls, and record revenues
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Mark Richardson believes India will get favourable batting conditions on this tour © Getty Images
 
New Zealand's worst ever sprinter, lycra suit advocate, and top-rate self-promoter Mark Richardson wrote a column entitled "Keeping the boss happy" for Cricinfo this week - it's a decent piece, although it did seem strangely reminiscent of a Sunday newspaper article I read whilst masticating at my local Karori café at the weekend (all that "playing the boss at cricket", "pressure on the groundsmen", "sense of goodwill towards New Zealand cricket" stuff). Here are a few more thoughts to throw in the mix.

1. The primary motivation in December 2002 was not to stitch India up. No, no, no: it wasn’t about you, it was about us. NZ was aiming to stitch up whoever happened to have the misfortune to touch down in the Land of the Long White Cloud that sorry, soggy summer. The New Zealand team was blessed with one of our best ever fast bowlers at that time, Shane Bond. It wasn't an anti-Indian move as much as it was an attempt to deploy the one genuine match-winning weapon in our arsenal. Rest assured, if we had been playing England, Zimbabwe or Nepal, the pitches in would have been exactly the same.

2. Mark Richardson points the finger at the green tops and New Zealand's moves to make the most of favourable conditions - but humbly leaves out the fact that he averaged 48 in the two-Test series. That was a full 15 runs more than The Wall and almost double that of Tendulkar: India's two best batsmen in the series.

3. I dearly hope Rigor is wrong when he says the Indian batsmen can "rest easy this time round...because New Zealanders and New Zealand cricket understand who pays the wages nowadays". That should never come into it, and I don't think it will. Most New Zealanders couldn’t give a rat’s posterior about where the “financial power” of world cricket resides. The most important difference between 2002 and now is that we do not have a world-class fast bowler to prepare pitches for, thanks to the boning of Bond via administrative interference and a plethora of cock-ups.

4. "In cricket terms what New Zealand really need to achieve from this tour is a sense of goodwill towards New Zealand cricket from Indian cricket once the tour is over." Richardson's words - and I think they are complete and utter bollocks. If the New Zealand team is out there doing business development and relationship-building rather than playing to win, the whole thing is a waste of time. Sure, cricket in the right spirit and all that chaps, but on the field there's no expectation for the Kiwi team to treat the Indian XI as anything other than its equal. This idea that we have to be fawning and over the top in dealing with India to make sure the BCCI is nice to us down the track is half-embarrassing, half-patronising, and 100% wrong.

5. Hopefully the Indian players have been terrified by some of the tales written about in the lead-in to the tour. Tinu Yohannan telling the Indian Express that "at times it was so cold that I would be running up to bowl with tears streaming down my face. I couldn't even see what was in front of me." The guy only bowled 25 overs in the Test at Hamilton which is hardly the Antarctic of Aotearoa. For a sad, blind man he did pretty well all things considered - cricket writer Lynn McConnell said he was "accurate and unrelenting in his control".

6. If we were to doctor the pitches to suit the "strengths" of the current New Zealand Test team, what would we do? Settle for draws and prepare flat, lifeless highways, hoping like hell Ross Taylor goes absolutely berserk while Tim McIntosh and Daniel Flynn pitch tents at the other end? The issue is that India's current pace bowling has proven to be more than useful on foreign soil - and their batting on flat (and bumpy) decks is pretty handy too. The other conspiratorial theory in favour of preparing bat-athon wickets is that having the Test matches go the distance would be useful from a "keep the sponsors happy" perspective.

7. Harbhajan Singh shouldn't even be here - his fine for dirty boots last time around saw him declare that he would not return to New Zealand ever again. See footage of a cranky 2002 Turbanator in this story focusing on the Indian team's arrival last week. Of course, we're glad he went back on his word and made it to our shores this time around. Anyone who thinks Andrew Symonds is a muppet is anchored in a safe harbour here in New Zealand.

8. My favourite comment on Richardson's article was this one from Da_punjabi: "In India, we have a story of swan, and a fox, who treat dinner at each other's home. Fox serves food in a plat, which swan couldn't bow down enough to digest. She gets mad, and thinks of a revenge. When the Fox arrives at her house, she serves him the food in a bottle neck pot. So you can all imagine where this story is going..." Just so wonderfully odd.

9. For advice on how to make a successful Indo-Kiwi business deal on the banks of The Basin Reserve, Seddon Park or Maclean Park, New Zealanders should check the opportunistically timed advice just released by New Zealand's international trade agency, NZTE. How’s this for a hot tip? “Indians seem to think Australians are more fun to deal with when it comes to business negotiations. This suggests New Zealanders need to take time to build long-term relationships in India and share a bit of laughter while doing so.”

10. Gagging for the cricket to begin so we can all stop banging on about paymasters, financial windfalls, and record revenues? Me too. Just have to get through these twenny-twennys and one-dayers first…

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Jean on December 23, 2011, 12:01 GMT

    This is both steert smart and intelligent.

  • perl57 on March 18, 2009, 0:18 GMT

    Your article makes me wanna laugh at every match that went past by. Looking at T20s you should have printed a retraction of this article and apologized for pure BS. I guess its too late and you should be hating every ball that NZ is facing and bowling.Good luck for tests. Now tht it is 60 for 6 nothing seems right.

  • Reg Corres on February 27, 2009, 17:28 GMT

    Who is Mark Richardson anyway? Does anybody know if Navjot Sidhu will be commentating in New Zealand for this series?

  • Rajit Desai on February 26, 2009, 8:17 GMT

    Finally some sanity prevails. Thanks Paul. This is like a breath fo fresh air compared to Mark...

  • Kiwi on February 26, 2009, 6:27 GMT

    Good to see the kiwi's get a win last night by playing cricket shots as opposed to whatever the Indian batsmen (except for Raina) were attempting.

    Oh and Apyboutit, it's called bio-security. Were HRH Singh's shoes to be carrying something nasty it would be as damaging to our economy as the current mass reduction of IT outsourcing is to yours.

  • Saumya Shanker on February 25, 2009, 6:01 GMT

    Completely agree with paul... as an Indian supporter I also would feel embarassed to find kiwis being good hosts! We would like to see competition, and the best chance of that to happen in this series is for the NZ board to prepare pitches that suit them. As it is the current Indian squad is in a merciless mode and have been proving that most situations suit them. Making even / unbiased cricket conditions for this Indian team nowawdays is similar to giving the battle to them on a platter! Forget if the matches finish in 3 days.. if they are competitive they are much better for viewers than 600s apiece being scored across 5 days as is happening in neighbouring karachi!

  • Ravinder Singh on February 25, 2009, 4:53 GMT

    Well written. Thank You. And Thank You Mark, because without your lousy article we woudln`t have this one!!!

  • krishna phani on February 25, 2009, 4:53 GMT

    I hope the weather conditions of Newzealand is suitable for India for the first time.

    India will win 20 20 matches...

  • Mel on February 25, 2009, 4:50 GMT

    You guys are so patronising, trying to argue and counter whether NZ will prepare green tops to tople indians or resort to batting wickets and have an even game ?? (B.S) all the while discounting the fact that the current indian team has performed well everhywhere, though definitly not world beaters they are very good. I mean if you make green tops or grey tops or sand bowls so be it...they will still beat NZ 50:50. What the heck is wrong with you guys, who is asking NZ to not play competitive cricket , if they do that i dont think india would tour again given the ratings would plummet..

  • Nirazz on February 25, 2009, 4:45 GMT

    India defeated Sri Lanka 4-1 in the ODI series recently - and the cospiracy therorists said the Sri Lankan players were under instructions from their board to go soft on India.

    Looks like India cannot win 'fair and square' these days.

    First rate write-up by the way.

  • Jean on December 23, 2011, 12:01 GMT

    This is both steert smart and intelligent.

  • perl57 on March 18, 2009, 0:18 GMT

    Your article makes me wanna laugh at every match that went past by. Looking at T20s you should have printed a retraction of this article and apologized for pure BS. I guess its too late and you should be hating every ball that NZ is facing and bowling.Good luck for tests. Now tht it is 60 for 6 nothing seems right.

  • Reg Corres on February 27, 2009, 17:28 GMT

    Who is Mark Richardson anyway? Does anybody know if Navjot Sidhu will be commentating in New Zealand for this series?

  • Rajit Desai on February 26, 2009, 8:17 GMT

    Finally some sanity prevails. Thanks Paul. This is like a breath fo fresh air compared to Mark...

  • Kiwi on February 26, 2009, 6:27 GMT

    Good to see the kiwi's get a win last night by playing cricket shots as opposed to whatever the Indian batsmen (except for Raina) were attempting.

    Oh and Apyboutit, it's called bio-security. Were HRH Singh's shoes to be carrying something nasty it would be as damaging to our economy as the current mass reduction of IT outsourcing is to yours.

  • Saumya Shanker on February 25, 2009, 6:01 GMT

    Completely agree with paul... as an Indian supporter I also would feel embarassed to find kiwis being good hosts! We would like to see competition, and the best chance of that to happen in this series is for the NZ board to prepare pitches that suit them. As it is the current Indian squad is in a merciless mode and have been proving that most situations suit them. Making even / unbiased cricket conditions for this Indian team nowawdays is similar to giving the battle to them on a platter! Forget if the matches finish in 3 days.. if they are competitive they are much better for viewers than 600s apiece being scored across 5 days as is happening in neighbouring karachi!

  • Ravinder Singh on February 25, 2009, 4:53 GMT

    Well written. Thank You. And Thank You Mark, because without your lousy article we woudln`t have this one!!!

  • krishna phani on February 25, 2009, 4:53 GMT

    I hope the weather conditions of Newzealand is suitable for India for the first time.

    India will win 20 20 matches...

  • Mel on February 25, 2009, 4:50 GMT

    You guys are so patronising, trying to argue and counter whether NZ will prepare green tops to tople indians or resort to batting wickets and have an even game ?? (B.S) all the while discounting the fact that the current indian team has performed well everhywhere, though definitly not world beaters they are very good. I mean if you make green tops or grey tops or sand bowls so be it...they will still beat NZ 50:50. What the heck is wrong with you guys, who is asking NZ to not play competitive cricket , if they do that i dont think india would tour again given the ratings would plummet..

  • Nirazz on February 25, 2009, 4:45 GMT

    India defeated Sri Lanka 4-1 in the ODI series recently - and the cospiracy therorists said the Sri Lankan players were under instructions from their board to go soft on India.

    Looks like India cannot win 'fair and square' these days.

    First rate write-up by the way.

  • Arun on February 25, 2009, 4:43 GMT

    WoW ! that was a wonderful read....I normally do not last the whole length of the article and here I did not only read it, but also commenting upong it...I agree with each of your 10 points that you have mentioned here...keep em' coming....

  • Ranbir Hooda on February 25, 2009, 4:14 GMT

    Paul,I think this whole 'its too cold to play cricket'is being blown outrageously out of proportion.Most guys in this team are North Indian.The winters in North India are as cold,if not colder than the conditions in NewZealand.The southies,who're few in number, are going to have the problems.Who's Tinu Yohannan BTW?I'm looking forward to a violent,almost maniacal assault on the kiwi bowling attack by fellow-Haryanvi Jat Virender Sehwag.Sehwag is by far the shortest Jat I've seen & the most feminine looking one as well but he's still hugely intimidating for any bowler.Watch out for Yusuf Pathan & most of all-Yuvraj Singh.He's easily the Most Valuable limited overs cricketer in the world & has been ever since the beginning of 2005.Having said that each & every batsman in this team except,say Gambhir(who still gets his runs at a brisk pace & is the most consistent),has the ability to smack it out of the biggest grounds.From the Kiwis,looking forward to Oram & McCullum.I dunno anyone else.

  • naren on February 25, 2009, 3:55 GMT

    India is the champions of t20 and Nz will have 2 work hard for victory but indians wont give them a chance

  • Abhinav on February 25, 2009, 3:49 GMT

    Beautifully written mate!!!! get on with the game, i say.

  • Nick on February 25, 2009, 3:46 GMT

    Can we see some anti-BCCI protests please? No need to dig up the pitch though, unless India are 3-500 of course....

  • Arnab Gupta on February 25, 2009, 3:39 GMT

    My thoughts on Mark Richardson's post are here:

    http://arnabocean.wordpress.com/2009/02/23/cricket-and-its-politics-from-the-enlightening-mark-richardson/

  • Apyboutit on February 25, 2009, 3:35 GMT

    Am I missing something here! You guys have a strange way of welcoming visitors (read India). You humiliate a visiting sports person because his Shoes were "Dirty?!!!!!?". A "humble" former player-turned-writer forgets to mention that the pitches were deemed very Bad for Cricket by several pundits. His "critique" forgets to observe His "humble" mate never faced a Bond in unfamiliar conditions on his way to getting 48 runs before he was out everytime!! Everyone forgets that 15 oC is At Least 20 oC less than what is faced anywhere in India - the limiting definition of "unfamiliar conditions"! All this, while there Are no complaints from the visitors about the pitches last time!! I quite don't understand this attitude! Do you guys want to do an Oz? Or is it because you are the latest to suffer the monitory inferiority complex - or just now got a chance to exhibit it?! Or is it because you are self-guilty of having hosted a bad series last time. Or is it because you want to spice up a no-entertainer of a series? Or is it because you never wanted to host us, but are doing it only for the money? Or is it because you really want some free money without playing - but are ashamed of getting (begging for) it from India? Or is it because you guys are afraid of winning and so finding ways of covering your "posteriors" a prioi?! If it is any one of the above reasons, or any other, there is always a single different way of addressing your fears and recentments or goals. In India we call it honest front door entry with civility. Especially, since cricket is no Rugby! The story of Swan and Fox is as stupid and irrelevant as it gets. A Swan only has vessels that suite its eating habits. It takes money, resources, a while and more than a few visits by the Fox, for the Swan to be able to serve on anything other than is naturally available to it! With Money and resources, the Swan has consistently been serving more Fox-favoring vessels over the years! Well, the Fox is yet to design ONE Swan-favoring vessel!! It is quite not clear what is it that is pricking you guys?! God bless you guys to cool down! Or may be Dhoni can help you guys. But ask him Nicely!

  • Vishy on February 25, 2009, 3:16 GMT

    Nice essay Paul. I read Mark Richardson's article too and didn't agree with him. I think New Zealand has always been a very strong team at home and has generally beaten other teams. I am sure the team will do well this time too (eventhough I am a cricket fan from India) and I think that it will be a battle of equals. I am also hoping that the land of Bert Sutcliffe, Richard Hadlee, Martin Crowe, Mark Greatbatch, Chris Cairns and Nathan Astle will throw up new stars in the current series. I am quite excited about Ross Taylor and Grant Elliott and will be watching their performance with a lot of excitement.

  • Hanu on February 25, 2009, 1:51 GMT

    Haha very refreshing and honest article!

  • Rahul on February 25, 2009, 1:38 GMT

    A lot hasb een said about NZ doing favours to India, which i find pretty strange to start with. But still, going back to Indian diaries, NZ has been and will remain a toucher Foreign territory to stamp a Win in either forms of cricket - ODIs, Tests, or even T20. And if they do ti this time around, then there is only one thing that should get the credit for this - its the Indian team that goes out to face the opposition and nothign else. I think Indians are quite cleari n their minds about this, it seems the kiwis are on the other sideo f the spectrum though with all this and hence shows the different mindsets of the two sides at the moment. Whats interesting is, that these comments posted up were very one-sided and for a change maybe someone who only talks about CRICKET and only CRICKET, should put some comments up. Other issues do not have anything to do with the way a game will unfold at the centre of the ground when the action starts!

  • farlap on February 24, 2009, 23:47 GMT

    Mr. Paul...so very "English" or should i say "kiwi" of you to say NZC does not gives a rat's posterior about relationship with BCCI. Well I wonder why NZC has shown such an overwhelming hospitality to Indian team when usually blackcaps as left alone in their dressing room mopping up the floors. So if NZC is not interested in the revenue generated by this tour, I suppose they would be donating the bulk of it to RSPCA. Your article here is what is utter "bollocks" mate..

  • Economist on February 24, 2009, 23:05 GMT

    Nice riposte Paul - I thought Rigor had lost the plot a bit in suggesting we bend over backwards to make the Indians feel welcome. Did the Indians buy Sky TV while we weren't looking and he's trying to make them feel extra welcome? Or perhaps he thinks that the reason we didn't beat England until 1978 was because we didn't want to upset the old colonial masters.

    And most importantly of all, did he get paid by both the NZ Herald and Cricinfo for writing two articles that are almost identical?

  • Looch on February 24, 2009, 22:54 GMT

    Great article Paul, they are the "fighting words" I expect from a Kiwi, as opposed to the insipid and sycophantic piece from Mark Richardson.

  • Mike on February 24, 2009, 22:38 GMT

    I would agree insofar as India is the best team in the world at the moment, but top teams need to consistently win away from home regardless of "the conditions". Yes, the last tour was disappointing from a cricket point of view, but is everyone forgetting about the countless tests played on subcontinent dustbowls against an army of spinners turning it square? Home advantage is home advantage. Why wouldn´t you play to your strengths? Winning in such conditions seperates the wheat from the chaff. Bring on the cricket! This could be great series!

  • Maulik on February 24, 2009, 21:10 GMT

    Way better and balanced than Richardson.

  • Plumbunion on February 24, 2009, 20:49 GMT

    You bring up almost the same points that I highlighted as comments in Mark Richardson's article. Except I wasn't trying to be funny ;)

  • deepak on February 24, 2009, 20:37 GMT

    agreed with prakash and prasanth, may the best team win. We all know the best is this time around. chak de India

  • deepak on February 24, 2009, 20:31 GMT

    lets get on with the tour. BCCI in 2002 was as much a fat cat as it is now, the difference in pitches will be due to Zaheer and Ishant, period.

  • Sean SD on February 24, 2009, 20:26 GMT

    Very well said Paul!!!. Mark Richardson column was crap and politically motivated and shows no spirit and does undermine how important the game is. If Mark has any complains about people seating in board room please take it behind doors and not try to rub his fickle attitude on outcome of the series.

  • vinod on February 24, 2009, 20:25 GMT

    Great post mate ! I am Indian and don't think for ONE moment that the kiwis would be thinking where the money comes from when they play their cricket. Infact, if the present rich Indian board sees India lose in NZ AGAIN, I am sure they will be thinking of getting back here sooner than 6 years from now, so it makes more business sense to actually beat the pulp out of this rockstar team. Lets not make this a money thing. A billion Indians love to watch cricket, and if that makes some good money for NZC, then I am only too happy. Let the game begin !

  • Ravbalkish on February 24, 2009, 19:55 GMT

    Your post is no better than Richardson's post - You say Indian batsmen can score in falt decks - what about New Zealand - why do not you prepare green decks - ishant cna wreck you

    also, your batsmen, england's batsmen, aussies have all perished in the face of furious pace - so, why single out India

    New Zealand is unknown in most parts of the world - many people suffer from skin disorders in New Zealand - nothing is imical in New Zealand - New Zealand is a health hazard

  • SSDD on February 24, 2009, 19:06 GMT

    Snore! Let the games begin mate, enough of all this talk.

  • anil on February 24, 2009, 18:09 GMT

    Good agressive article, but you seem to have taken your mouth right of your so called "Rat's posterior". But cricket is played on the ground. Your articles might wet the pants of the kiwis but hardly encourages any of your cricketers. Just once you have won and you want to claim as though NZ had been winning ever since God spoke to Adam? If you ever were to doctor the pitches? Infact all you had ever done in 2002 was that. You are so shameless to even say that those were prepared for Shane Bond. Infact so worse were your doctoring that the next time you met India on a good pitch you could hardly score 150. WC 2003. Poetic justic eh'. You can be forgiven for accusing Harbhajan for not cleaning his shoes but it was your own authorities who cleaned them in 2002. So jokes on you mate. If India is not welcomed in NZ then they stay where they are in Cricket, bed wetters in winter which gives a warm feeling but nobody notices it.

  • anirban on February 24, 2009, 17:52 GMT

    Pretty sure the BCCI dont have such extraordinary powers to be the main theme behind so many wonderfully crafted articles/blog-entries these days. I guess its more the case of - well we can't really poke fun at their cricket right now so lets just get a new target. Interesting guidelines as well, to posting comments. Funny how freedom of speech is much more liberal for the blogger, regardless of content (or in this case the lack of it). Don't get me wrong, I do see the humor. Just that it's "so wonderfully odd". Thus, couldn't give a kiwi's posterior to Paul Ford or Mark Richardwatever. Posts like this really force you to quote the Turbanator, cleaner shoes this time around - "inki maki" (not monkey, as symonds later found out).

  • Ram on February 24, 2009, 17:42 GMT

    Spot on, Paul, I couldn't agree more on all counts. It's hardly Arctic (or Antarctic) conditions in NZ and, hopefully, this generation of Indian cricketers (of who I'm a fan) will learn to be sportsman first and cricketers later. If the Kiwis can battle and adapt to scorchy Indian conditions and flat wickets, Indians ought to (try to) acclimatize to NZ conditions. As for, BCCI, please spare us the bad words but while on the subject, if you Kiwis can rub some sh*t in BCCI's face, there are a billion people waiting in glee (minus the BCCI officials). Thanks, mate!

  • MD.MRAN HOSSAIN on February 24, 2009, 17:35 GMT

    I think India will recover all the obstacles and will march a great victory in both one-day,test and twenty-20 series.

  • Prashanth on February 24, 2009, 17:22 GMT

    Absolutely agree with you!! We want to see two good sides compete against each other with the best team winning. Politics and money be better left outside the ground. May the best team win!!

  • Prakash Kalanjeri on February 24, 2009, 17:01 GMT

    Shane Bond was the difference between the 2 sides last time. Teams like Australia and South Africa would have struggled equally.

    While the survivors of the 2002 sojourn may be a little anxious about the nature of the wickets this time around though, its likely the inexperience of the NZ team that would blink first.

    Good luck to both sides.

  • popat on February 24, 2009, 16:36 GMT

    Good read. All the brouhaha about paymasters and doctoring pitches aside, I think it'll be a genuinely exciting tour for the Indian team - Test wins in NZ are a notable omission on India's overseas resume. No team that whinges about overseas pitches can have a credible shot at being considered truly good (are you listening, England?)

  • KiQass on February 24, 2009, 16:20 GMT

    Glad to see Mark Richardson's views are not common to all New Zealanders. yes, the pitches were part of the excuse offered, but the excuse was always 'the pitches were green tops, we were outplayed' and not 'the pitches were green tops, it suited NZ very well'. If Richardson reflects the general views of NZC, win or lose BCCI would never tour NZ again.

  • Alex on February 24, 2009, 16:13 GMT

    I think best way to have better relationship is make a 'result oriented' wicket and beat india. People always play who play better than them. That is it. I think NZ has to prepare wicket that suits them. Period. No excuse on that. EVen if it green wicket india will beat NZ. No Bond. He was deadly on green wicket. if you remove sehwag early on green wicket , game over. But in flat wicket Sachin will eye for a double century. I do not think NZ has to do anything special than playing hard nose cricket and hope fe wof their youngsters make century.

  • Shubh on February 24, 2009, 16:10 GMT

    Felt pretty similar things on reading Richardson's column. Glad you put it in words more elegantly. If the Indian team does win, I would much rather prefer that they win in whatever conditions the hosts dish up. that's one of the beauties of cricket is the natural element in it. glad to hear no one from the indian team has actually complained about the conditions (yet?). most of the talk has been about how to adapt to those instead. I always thought Australia won in India when they finally figured out complaining wont win them tests and got down to figuring out what needed to be done.

  • jos on February 24, 2009, 16:07 GMT

    Excellent reply to Richardsons article. His article was stupid that I really thought of writing letter to cric info to check why post suck crap.

  • Ajay Kamath on February 24, 2009, 15:51 GMT

    While I wouldnt want to see a batathon, I dont think anyone wants a surface where both sides are bowled out for less than a hundred in the first iniings! That makes the game too much of a lottery.Let's hope that the pitches are good and the conditions sunny! Fron an Indian viewpoint, it is an incredible relief to play against the well mannered and affable New Zealanders after seeing far too much of the boorish and petulant Aussies, who know neither how to win or lose gracefully!

  • SK_NBS on February 24, 2009, 15:47 GMT

    And to comment on the Richardson' article, if I were a sportsman the ultimate honour for me would be for an oponent to try its damndest to beat me, and to try and use all legal means at his diposal would only please me more because it means they take me seriously as an oponent. Not even trying too hard to beat me would be an insult and which one sided contest brings in viewers, anyway? If the NZ-Aus series was anything to go by, we will be in for a few great contests. Hopefully. I am also looking forward to the contest between the captains - Vettori is one of the best, if not THE best, captains in world cricket and Dhoni has so far been proved himself to be a very smart captain. It's actually the first time Dhoni is going to meet a captain whos probably better than he is. Can't wait.

  • SK_NBS on February 24, 2009, 15:46 GMT

    I spent about a month backpacking around the north island in 1999 and New Zealand is simply my favourite country to visit. So I was quite pleased to hear Dhoni talk about enjoying the country and it's wonderful people. This team seems to be enjoying whatever they do so hopefully they'll comeback with a good experience cricket-wise and otherwise. If they lose and blame the pitch and the wind it will be dissapointing but somehow I don't see Dhoni shirking away from calling a spade a spade if required.

  • Anil Rao on February 24, 2009, 15:33 GMT

    As a cricket fan i believe no Indian fan will think who financial power house is and how many millions of dollars NZ is going to get because of the Indian tour etc. It really doesn’t matter to me. When I am following a Indian cricket tour, its the highly exciting cricket I am interested in. India vs NZ series will be interesting because no matter how the pitches are prepared, countering NZ conditions will be challenging experience to Indian team and India team doesn’t have any bitter history with NZ players unlike with Aussies .So looking forward to an highly competitive and pure cricket. NZ team watch our for Yousef Patan and especially Turbanator...he came back to NZ with a cause..!!By the way it’s not fair on NZ part to use John Wright against us, give him back to us:)

  • Subbu Iyer on February 24, 2009, 14:39 GMT

    Paul, thanks for the rejoinder to the utter tish tosh dished out by Richardson. His preposterous suggestions seemed more like a petition for anticipatory bail! Truth be told, the tracks on that tour were a shame. You're bang on when you point out the absence of Bond. If anything, with fast tracks NZ would get a taste of what it dished out on that last tour, what with Ishant and Zaheer firing all cylinders - they gave the Aussies hell at Perth of all places! Apologists and conspiracy theorists of Richardson's ilk ought to just shut up and watch the action. It is going to be interesting!

  • Prashant on February 24, 2009, 14:35 GMT

    I hope to hell NZ are not on a "please the boss" routine here. Fans both of NZ and India deserve better. And the teams themselves - a talent robbed (due to all kinds of political reasons sadly) re-building young NZ and a resurgent India - do not deserve it. It would be great to see them both fight it out for the prize. And by the way, is Mark Richardson playing this time around?!

  • djoseph on February 24, 2009, 14:34 GMT

    Haha a great read. Far more insightful than Richardson's article. I thought all that talk about respecting the financial powerhouse was a bit offensive and a cop out in case NZ got thrashed. Here's to a truly competitive and tough series!

  • Deepak on February 24, 2009, 14:14 GMT

    "..but humbly leaves out the fact that he averaged 48 in the two-Test series. That was a full 15 runs more than The Wall and almost double that of Tendulkar: India's two best batsmen in the series" So what's the point? Mark is better than Sachin and Dravid? I feel his average signifies nothing. He was one player who truly exploited the advantage of playing in home conditions. Of course you wouldn't have forgotten that NZ too had under 100 scores..

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  • Deepak on February 24, 2009, 14:14 GMT

    "..but humbly leaves out the fact that he averaged 48 in the two-Test series. That was a full 15 runs more than The Wall and almost double that of Tendulkar: India's two best batsmen in the series" So what's the point? Mark is better than Sachin and Dravid? I feel his average signifies nothing. He was one player who truly exploited the advantage of playing in home conditions. Of course you wouldn't have forgotten that NZ too had under 100 scores..

  • djoseph on February 24, 2009, 14:34 GMT

    Haha a great read. Far more insightful than Richardson's article. I thought all that talk about respecting the financial powerhouse was a bit offensive and a cop out in case NZ got thrashed. Here's to a truly competitive and tough series!

  • Prashant on February 24, 2009, 14:35 GMT

    I hope to hell NZ are not on a "please the boss" routine here. Fans both of NZ and India deserve better. And the teams themselves - a talent robbed (due to all kinds of political reasons sadly) re-building young NZ and a resurgent India - do not deserve it. It would be great to see them both fight it out for the prize. And by the way, is Mark Richardson playing this time around?!

  • Subbu Iyer on February 24, 2009, 14:39 GMT

    Paul, thanks for the rejoinder to the utter tish tosh dished out by Richardson. His preposterous suggestions seemed more like a petition for anticipatory bail! Truth be told, the tracks on that tour were a shame. You're bang on when you point out the absence of Bond. If anything, with fast tracks NZ would get a taste of what it dished out on that last tour, what with Ishant and Zaheer firing all cylinders - they gave the Aussies hell at Perth of all places! Apologists and conspiracy theorists of Richardson's ilk ought to just shut up and watch the action. It is going to be interesting!

  • Anil Rao on February 24, 2009, 15:33 GMT

    As a cricket fan i believe no Indian fan will think who financial power house is and how many millions of dollars NZ is going to get because of the Indian tour etc. It really doesn’t matter to me. When I am following a Indian cricket tour, its the highly exciting cricket I am interested in. India vs NZ series will be interesting because no matter how the pitches are prepared, countering NZ conditions will be challenging experience to Indian team and India team doesn’t have any bitter history with NZ players unlike with Aussies .So looking forward to an highly competitive and pure cricket. NZ team watch our for Yousef Patan and especially Turbanator...he came back to NZ with a cause..!!By the way it’s not fair on NZ part to use John Wright against us, give him back to us:)

  • SK_NBS on February 24, 2009, 15:46 GMT

    I spent about a month backpacking around the north island in 1999 and New Zealand is simply my favourite country to visit. So I was quite pleased to hear Dhoni talk about enjoying the country and it's wonderful people. This team seems to be enjoying whatever they do so hopefully they'll comeback with a good experience cricket-wise and otherwise. If they lose and blame the pitch and the wind it will be dissapointing but somehow I don't see Dhoni shirking away from calling a spade a spade if required.

  • SK_NBS on February 24, 2009, 15:47 GMT

    And to comment on the Richardson' article, if I were a sportsman the ultimate honour for me would be for an oponent to try its damndest to beat me, and to try and use all legal means at his diposal would only please me more because it means they take me seriously as an oponent. Not even trying too hard to beat me would be an insult and which one sided contest brings in viewers, anyway? If the NZ-Aus series was anything to go by, we will be in for a few great contests. Hopefully. I am also looking forward to the contest between the captains - Vettori is one of the best, if not THE best, captains in world cricket and Dhoni has so far been proved himself to be a very smart captain. It's actually the first time Dhoni is going to meet a captain whos probably better than he is. Can't wait.

  • Ajay Kamath on February 24, 2009, 15:51 GMT

    While I wouldnt want to see a batathon, I dont think anyone wants a surface where both sides are bowled out for less than a hundred in the first iniings! That makes the game too much of a lottery.Let's hope that the pitches are good and the conditions sunny! Fron an Indian viewpoint, it is an incredible relief to play against the well mannered and affable New Zealanders after seeing far too much of the boorish and petulant Aussies, who know neither how to win or lose gracefully!

  • jos on February 24, 2009, 16:07 GMT

    Excellent reply to Richardsons article. His article was stupid that I really thought of writing letter to cric info to check why post suck crap.

  • Shubh on February 24, 2009, 16:10 GMT

    Felt pretty similar things on reading Richardson's column. Glad you put it in words more elegantly. If the Indian team does win, I would much rather prefer that they win in whatever conditions the hosts dish up. that's one of the beauties of cricket is the natural element in it. glad to hear no one from the indian team has actually complained about the conditions (yet?). most of the talk has been about how to adapt to those instead. I always thought Australia won in India when they finally figured out complaining wont win them tests and got down to figuring out what needed to be done.