June 10, 2009

World Twenty20 2009

I hate being back-packed

Iain O'Brien


Nope, didn't drop any this time! © Getty Images
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I hate it when I don’t play. Really hate it. I didn’t want to miss any matches of this World Twenty20 through form or injury; both have worked against me and I missed last night’s match against South Africa at Lords. And that’s also the second time I’ve been 12th man at Lord's, my only appearance there was the warm-up match against India prior to this tournament and that doesn’t count on any stats as it wasn’t an official Twenty20.

My back hasn’t been the best over the last week; it’s got quite tight through the lower area and has been a little tough to handle. I played against Scotland when it wasn’t great, I was OK to play but it wasn’t 100%. Over the days since that match it’s been up and down in terms of how tight and painful it’s been.

We trained at Lords the day before the match and I hit the nets to work on some plans for the SA batters. My back felt OK today so I went hard and got through some good stuff. I probably bowled about five overs when I stopped and headed in to see the physio. My lower back had ‘locked’ up and was rather sore. Not perfect and not what I wanted the day out before a big match.

So to the physio’s table, a place I’d been spending way too much time over this last week. Some work from the physio and then some acupuncture. I’ve always been a fan of acupuncture, no fear of needles, so get them in and give ‘em a tweak phys!

As we headed into the SA match we had the bare minimum to choose from because of injury and even in that bare minimum 12 there are still a mixture of niggles. I was considered fit and was hopeful of a start, not to happen, but Dan was out with a shoulder injury he picked up during a fielding session, Jesse out with a groin related injury and is now in hospital after getting considerably worse throughout yesterday and Franky with a knee issue. This meant Millsy, Broomy and Diamanti came into the 11 and it would be Diamanti’s Twenty debut. What a place to do it!

Our trainings throughout the pre tournament and since have been really well done and specific. Net training, generally, have been situation specific. You bowl with a new ball if you’re practicing that part of the innings and with an old one for the death stuff. I know that sounds obvious but it doesn’t always happen. The batters want to know what our fields would be so they can try to work out what we’re doing and where the gaps are. We’ve have had big open-wicket match situations, the blessing of having 15 in the touring squad, where we’ll practice the first six overs of an innings or the last four and almost compete for scores set or defended. I’ve enjoyed them, although tiring; they’ve set us up well.

The focus for last night’s match was the execution of our bowling plans and the boys did an amazing job. After a poor effort against Scotland we had to turn it around quick smart. We did more scouting, more research and had more discussion over the SA batting line up; for one reason that we knew more about them going into this match. Our plans were good and just had the execution to go.

We kept a very strong batting line up to 128 in the 20 overs; a very happy bowling and fielding group came off the park and up to the changing room. Butts and Nath were special last night, Butts only going for 13 off his four overs and Nath, with his little tweekers, going for just 4.5 per over.

I headed up to see the group and see what if anyone needed anything and then got back down onto the park and did a quick bit of work on my fielding. I wanted to do some as I always need to work on my fielding but more so to do some in the ‘change over’ light that we’ll have to field in more and more as we progress in the tournament. I caught everything, for a change, fielded all the ground balls clean and got what I wanted to out of it.

Baz started us off a treat rushing along to 19 off 11, in that time Gups had fallen to Steyn and Broomy to a very good caught and bowled by Kallis. Ross and Baz got were then together and put on 56 for the 4th wicket in 11 overs. The SA bowlers, through this period, contained these two big hitters and put themselves in a good position going into the last five overs.

We ended up leaving our run for the finish line a little late and lost by one run. Chasing a score of 128 shouldn’t have been so tough. We discussed, after the match, how we should have gone about the chase and what differences we could have made and would make next time we get ourselves in that position. Ross, in his innings, pulled up lame with a hamstring injury too which just adds to our injury worries going into the Super Eights stage of the competition.

I’m currently sitting in my hotel room, rain outside, India vs Ireland on the telly, almost finished this for today and just some food to get in before resting the body, keeping the back flat and preparing for tomorrow’s Super Eights match against Ireland. Hopefully we can field 11 fit players!!??

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Fast bowler Iain O'Brien played 22 Tests for New Zealand in the second half of the 2000s

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Posted by Kamil on (June 17, 2009, 14:21 GMT)

Kiwi oh Kiwi, injuries are the main culprit in the NZ side. Injuries have been plagued the team for the past few years. Shane Bond had succumbed to injury, if only he's still around, he could easily be the main wicket-taker for NZ. It is a shame that NZ had no chance to be in the final four.

Posted by Jon on (June 14, 2009, 9:51 GMT)

Iain

Thanks for writing your great blog which I really enjoy.

Your boys missed you yesterday - they really didn't turn up did they? I was mystified by what seemed like a very disjointed performance and the sight of the captain checking out his run up while the rest of the team were in the sheds making their last minute preparations was bizarre in the extreme. Jake Oram seemed a distant and remote part of the outfit too. Still - there's all to play for and I wish you well in the next game. I hope you can be fit and raring to go - your country needs you!

Posted by Digger on (June 14, 2009, 2:47 GMT)

I cannot understand the NZ selection mentality some times to be honest. I can't for the life of me understand why Peter McGlashan is keeping when McCullum could be and we could pull in another specialist batsman or bowler. Franklin hasn't earnt his place yet. Take him and McCGlashan out and bring a specialist bat and bowler in. I can't understand for the life of me why Grant Elliot is in the squad. I know Scott Styris is a good option and similar as I guess is Jesse Ryder, but to be honest I think that Grant Elliot is more than capable and has proven his place. Just look at his stats in ODIs. He is a very intelligent cricketer. I would bring him in at even at the expense of Oram who is clearly out of form. Finally you are only as old as you think you are. Look at Jayasuriya. Even more impressive though are Chris Harris' stats in 20 20. Top in the world in batting I believe. He really deserves another chance imo. I dont care how old he is. He's playing better than they oung ones.

Posted by Aamir Akhund on (June 12, 2009, 8:23 GMT)

Ian i hope u whould recover in time for all the important matches your team has to play. On the other hand i really doubt if the Kiwis are a force to be reckoned with when you have so many injury concerns. And the super eight group you guys have landed is also not an easy one ( barring the Irish team). Pakistan has started to find its feet and Sri lanka is in prime form. I wonder if the Baby Blue Indians are having sleepless nights with the thought of facing either Pakistan or Sri Lanka in the semi final (that would surely end the drama of a team indulged in fighting amongst themselves). South Africa is the team we all have to look out for and admire their determination to put on a great show.

Posted by Matt on (June 12, 2009, 3:42 GMT)

Hi Iain, Just a question regarding the re-introduction of players such as Shane Bond and Daryl Tuffey back into the NZ national side now that they have severed ties with the ICL. Do you think having these two players back in the national team we have now have some good depth in bowling, and they will assist us further in getting out test ranking higher. (Where it should be)

I think its great to have them back, although it has given bowlers such as yourself a great oppourtunity to step up and prove yourself, it has brought your game to a new level, I think it will be a good thing looking forward as we now have a good bunch of bowlers to choose from in all forms of cricket.

Posted by Sam on (June 12, 2009, 1:37 GMT)

Hi Iain. Sorry to hear you are not 100%. I have to back up Elsi and ask why Grant Elliott does not get a look in. Sure Aaron Redmond accounted for himself well but with Jesse out I would think that Grant offers a cheeky bowling option that could come in useful. I always thought this would be a South Africa vs New Zealand final and the possibility of that is increasing. Great effort to restrict them and a shame it did not result in a win but NZ has been the only team to challenge them so keep it up. Enjoy the series and go the Black Caps!

Posted by Elsi on (June 11, 2009, 9:37 GMT)

Nice blog Iain! I'm wondering, why isn't Grant Elliott considered as a backup playing considering he's playing in English conditions this season and can offer something with bat and bowl.

Cheers

Elsi

Posted by steve on (June 11, 2009, 8:42 GMT)

Injuries are a part and parcel of the game.Best of luck and hope to see you in action ASAP.

Posted by graham on (June 11, 2009, 8:20 GMT)

Nice blog Iain. Keep the chin up mate, we are rooting for you down here in Oz, now that our team is out. GO THE BLACK CAPS

Posted by Nathan Gardner on (June 10, 2009, 23:35 GMT)

11 fit players ? Please let the cricket gods rain down on us. An injury free team at this stage of the tourney will be a god send !! Good luck Black Caps the business end is where you will shine. India no probs, Windies, piece of cake, Sri Lanka are the danger I reckon. Go hard boys keep up the good blogs Iain its always nice to get a players perspective and thoughts.

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Iain O'Brien
Former New Zealand fast bowler Iain O'Brien played 22 Tests in the second half of the 2000s

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