March 29, 2011

New Zealand are the new Australia

What’s with all the mental disintegration
29

Saturday, 26th March Simon Doull, though he was loving most of what transpired in Dhaka, was not loving the intervention of Mr Kyle Mills. His goading of Faf du Plessis breached another of those codes that cricketers make up as they go along. Doully reckons its okay for blokes in the middle to sledge, but as the Victorians used to say, gentlemen who come onto the field of play wearing coloured bibs should be seen and not heard. Even though I’ve never heard of this rule before, I kind of agree with him.

But Nathan Astle doesn’t.

“It was a great move to get in the South Africans’ faces because they don’t like it.”

And why, exactly, was it great? It isn’t that hard to find things the South Africans don’t like. I’m sure they wouldn’t like being slapped with a four-foot haddock or having a barrel full of cold custard tipped over their heads or discovering that someone has set fire to their bootlaces. I dare say if Kyle Mills were in my face, I’d be none too pleased either, particularly if I were trying to eat a boiled egg or brush my teeth. If annoying people is now to be considered an achievement then it surely can’t be long before we are toasting Sir Graeme Swann or Lord Nicholas of Outtahere.

Anyway, this wasn’t a subtle piece of match-changing mental disintegration. It was one little boy going up to another little boy and saying, “Na-na na-na na na! We’re going to wi-in!” Why does this matter? Well, it matters to those many cricket lovers who traditionally at this stage of a World Cup turn to supporting those nice, plucky boys from New Zealand. If they’re going to go all Australian on us, we may decide to take our fair-weather armchair-bound support elsewhere.

Monday, 28th March Julian Hunte has been re-elected as president of the WICB for the third time, which is quite an achievement. However, aside from the clear savings in headed notepaper and door signage that his re-election will bring, it is not entirely clear that this result is a good thing. Far be it from me to doubt the wisdom of the WICB electorate, but a cynic might politely suggest that his first two terms were not exactly over-stocked in the success department. But El Presidente is having none of it:

"Thus far, this board has had significant progress in revitalising West Indies A Team programmes, women's cricket, Caribbean Twenty20 and the Scotiabank Kiddy Cricket to ensure that our cricket is strong again at all levels."

Well, not quite all levels. There is the small matter of the premature World Cup exit and then the inconvenient trivialities of the all-time low ranking of the Test, one-day international and Twenty20 Teams. But hey, let’s not dwell on all that unpleasantness. Perhaps he has a plan. Maybe he intends to fast-track some of the more promising ten-year-olds from the Kiddy Cricket programme directly into the Test team. Who knows, one of them might even be worth a look as captain.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Jaylynn on September 6, 2011, 20:02 GMT

    Good to see a tnaelt at work. I can't match that.

  • Gerrilyn on September 6, 2011, 4:58 GMT

    HHIS I should have tohhugt of that!

  • Lancelot Lightfoot on March 31, 2011, 12:05 GMT

    Well done NZ!!

    Rugby World Cup Chokers beat Cricket World Cup Chokers, I am sure The All Blacks wiil return the favour to the Springboks at RWC 2011 in NZ

  • SLfan on March 31, 2011, 11:27 GMT

    @ John Ward - Hats off to you mate...Me too is a strong supporter of the teams which play the cricket with right spirit. That's why I WAS a supporter of New Zealand for a long period, but not any more! @ Stephen L - Are you kidding ??? which manners were back to normal in the game against Sri Lanka ?? Whole world witnessed the behavior of New Zealanders in the semi final...!

  • SLfan on March 31, 2011, 11:16 GMT

    A strange and ugly (not from physical appearance but from the behavior) looking New Zealand side...! Never seen a New Zealand side with this kind of behavior. Rather it is unusual for a side who has won the Spirit of the cricket award several times !...Shame on you guys... I WAS a fan of New Zealand cricket team but not anymore!!!

  • Doggy on March 31, 2011, 5:05 GMT

    I hate Aussie team because they look like bullies-who -doesn't-know-anything-else when they resort to sledging. And I know I am not alone in that category. I hope Kiwi's won't go on the same path and lose whatever number of international fans they may have now. Let your cricket do the talking instead!

  • John Ward on March 30, 2011, 6:29 GMT

    Yes, I agree - after New Zealand's unsporting behaviour I am glad they lost yesterday. Not that Sri Lanka are always better with a captain like Sangakkara. I like to support teams that play in the right spirit of the game, with no sledging, but they're getting hard to find.

  • Dirk Armstrong on March 30, 2011, 5:05 GMT

    It appears as though Andrew is unfamilar with the ultra-competitive nature of international sport. Oh well, what can you do?

  • akjha on March 30, 2011, 5:01 GMT

    new zeland naver make new australia

  • Grubb on March 30, 2011, 4:58 GMT

    To be fair, Faf de Plessis had made a few public and rather disparaging remarks about the NZers before the game, along the lines of 'we could beat these guys in our sleep.' I think the NZ lads were asking if he was ready to retract those statements or not. I agree that it wasn't a good look, but I can understand the sentiments behind it.

  • Jaylynn on September 6, 2011, 20:02 GMT

    Good to see a tnaelt at work. I can't match that.

  • Gerrilyn on September 6, 2011, 4:58 GMT

    HHIS I should have tohhugt of that!

  • Lancelot Lightfoot on March 31, 2011, 12:05 GMT

    Well done NZ!!

    Rugby World Cup Chokers beat Cricket World Cup Chokers, I am sure The All Blacks wiil return the favour to the Springboks at RWC 2011 in NZ

  • SLfan on March 31, 2011, 11:27 GMT

    @ John Ward - Hats off to you mate...Me too is a strong supporter of the teams which play the cricket with right spirit. That's why I WAS a supporter of New Zealand for a long period, but not any more! @ Stephen L - Are you kidding ??? which manners were back to normal in the game against Sri Lanka ?? Whole world witnessed the behavior of New Zealanders in the semi final...!

  • SLfan on March 31, 2011, 11:16 GMT

    A strange and ugly (not from physical appearance but from the behavior) looking New Zealand side...! Never seen a New Zealand side with this kind of behavior. Rather it is unusual for a side who has won the Spirit of the cricket award several times !...Shame on you guys... I WAS a fan of New Zealand cricket team but not anymore!!!

  • Doggy on March 31, 2011, 5:05 GMT

    I hate Aussie team because they look like bullies-who -doesn't-know-anything-else when they resort to sledging. And I know I am not alone in that category. I hope Kiwi's won't go on the same path and lose whatever number of international fans they may have now. Let your cricket do the talking instead!

  • John Ward on March 30, 2011, 6:29 GMT

    Yes, I agree - after New Zealand's unsporting behaviour I am glad they lost yesterday. Not that Sri Lanka are always better with a captain like Sangakkara. I like to support teams that play in the right spirit of the game, with no sledging, but they're getting hard to find.

  • Dirk Armstrong on March 30, 2011, 5:05 GMT

    It appears as though Andrew is unfamilar with the ultra-competitive nature of international sport. Oh well, what can you do?

  • akjha on March 30, 2011, 5:01 GMT

    new zeland naver make new australia

  • Grubb on March 30, 2011, 4:58 GMT

    To be fair, Faf de Plessis had made a few public and rather disparaging remarks about the NZers before the game, along the lines of 'we could beat these guys in our sleep.' I think the NZ lads were asking if he was ready to retract those statements or not. I agree that it wasn't a good look, but I can understand the sentiments behind it.

  • triptoadd on March 30, 2011, 3:59 GMT

    i watched in amusement when Tim Southee repeatedly lashed filth at the sri Lankan batsmen delivery after the other in the last nights W/C semi-final encounter. New Zeland were never like this. They used to play the Gentlemans game. Years from now, we prefer New Zeland to be remembered for their cricketing talent on the field & not by what their mouth ran between deliveries!!

  • Dinesh on March 30, 2011, 1:38 GMT

    I've never understood how it is considered acceptable aggression for players to use the foul language they do to opponents. Apparently, this signifies the passion of a player playing for his country, and needs to be demonstrated in this fashion to prove he is giving his all! In tennis, audible obscenities are outlawed, but we still see great matches of skill and aggression. These foul-mouthed rants on the cricket pitch are politely termed "sledges". I have another term for the practice - "cowardice".

  • Stephen L on March 30, 2011, 1:26 GMT

    As a Kiwi I accept the boys went over the top against SA. Slight mitigation was that Du Plessis- perhaps understandably frankly- had made it clear in the press that he was very pleased to be playing NZ, and not just because he enjoyed their company. I suspect the main reason for a sudden outpouring of vitriol, was that it was the moment the Kiwis could put behind them a year of similar vitriol from their own fans and media, all of which they had to suck up and take, given some poor performances. Good to see the manners were back to normal against Sri Lanka.

  • smith on March 30, 2011, 1:11 GMT

    sledging are used by cowards who disrespect the game . it worked for the aussies in the past but it works against them now. seeing the greatest bat once become so nasty is hurtful yes ponting

  • Yusuf on March 29, 2011, 20:14 GMT

    Sledging is one thing and all cricketers have experienced it at some stage. However, to evoke such a reaction from the SA cricketers meant that something must have been said that crossed the line. Im all for sledging as its part of the game, but common sense on how far to go should prevail. I think the NZ boys may have crossed the line.

  • P Gardiner on March 29, 2011, 20:00 GMT

    Andrew - your comments reflect more on your smug sense of superiority than the standards of the Blackcaps.

    "nice, plucky boys" is a comment more suited to the England team, which deserve our pity for an overall poor tournament, with glimpses of good play.

    If we end up having the same sucess as Australia in the future, then I'm sure we'll be fine without your 'neutral' support, mate.

  • Jack on March 29, 2011, 19:50 GMT

    Looks like nothing worked against Sri Lanka, sledging, bowling and batting.

  • Jim on March 29, 2011, 19:21 GMT

    Interesting to hear the media spinning on their original comments about Donald asking them 'to be more agressive'... apparently he meant only with the ball. As we recall, White Lightning was a quiet and demure man in the contest...

    Blantant sledging is less in favour now (spectators...?), but a large part of sporting performance is mental - wearing away that part of an opponent is done in all codes, although the method perhaps a little course.

    Mills demonstrated to me that the 'reserves' do care deeply and feel involved in the match - despite those tragic red bibs.

    Yesterday however, the sight of N McCallum chipping at the Sri Lankans seemed more of desperation than intensity, although as rank underdogs with not enough on the board you have to try 'something' other than show up and roll the arm over.

    Did make me think of a terrier yapping at a big dog... and the big dog glances at the terrier and thinks "seriously!?"

    I'm still proud to wear my NZ cufflinks today! :)

  • bikesh on March 29, 2011, 18:58 GMT

    Comeon - it was a preety fair move by Kyle Mills. Cricket is not only about ability but more of a handling pressure at international level. Great players dont late sledges get into them.

  • santosh on March 29, 2011, 17:56 GMT

    Do the players realize that children(and their parents) are watching? Do you have to refer to sisters and mothers just because you took a catch(Virat Kohli) , or bowled a dot ball after conceding a six(Harbhajan)? Same for some Pakistani players and the Canadian Balaji Rao. Yes, we can lip read, and NO we do not approve!

  • Adhiraj Badyal on March 29, 2011, 16:31 GMT

    The Alan Donald influence, most definitely.

  • MuSA on March 29, 2011, 15:37 GMT

    "New Zealand are the new Australia"... You must be joking sir :D LMAO!!!

  • Seppie on March 29, 2011, 14:47 GMT

    To me the "Why Not" answer is very simple

    "Do not be rude to the man with the bat in his hands"

    KKyyllee MMiillss is lucky to be alive.

  • Jayzuz on March 29, 2011, 13:39 GMT

    Please spare us the Australia bashing. If you want to criticise NZ by all means do so, but don't turn it into yet another Kiwi Aussie-bashing contest. This negative stereotyping of Australia may make you feel all morally superior, but it also makes you look like whingers.

  • TheShoot on March 29, 2011, 11:19 GMT

    It wasnt just Kyle Mills, but his captain Vetorri as well. To delight in someone else's misfortune doesnt say much of ones own caracter.

  • Nev on March 29, 2011, 9:00 GMT

    I think you are purposely ignoring the point that the SA team and in particular Faf Du Plessis before the game basically said NZ was a weak team and they were going to get smashed by South Africa. Judging from comments made by the Kiwi's this was seen as being just a little bit disrespectful and I think may have caused the heightened feelings on the pitch.

  • parmod on March 29, 2011, 8:21 GMT

    nz will beat srilanla

  • Daison Garvasis on March 29, 2011, 8:14 GMT

    They should pick Mills for some games and then ban him from playing. That's the punishment for such childishness!!!

  • ToThePoint on March 29, 2011, 7:52 GMT

    LOL !!! it reminds of a comment made well before this article was published where some one suggested that if England is the new Pakistan then Pakistan is becoming the new Australia!!!

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  • ToThePoint on March 29, 2011, 7:52 GMT

    LOL !!! it reminds of a comment made well before this article was published where some one suggested that if England is the new Pakistan then Pakistan is becoming the new Australia!!!

  • Daison Garvasis on March 29, 2011, 8:14 GMT

    They should pick Mills for some games and then ban him from playing. That's the punishment for such childishness!!!

  • parmod on March 29, 2011, 8:21 GMT

    nz will beat srilanla

  • Nev on March 29, 2011, 9:00 GMT

    I think you are purposely ignoring the point that the SA team and in particular Faf Du Plessis before the game basically said NZ was a weak team and they were going to get smashed by South Africa. Judging from comments made by the Kiwi's this was seen as being just a little bit disrespectful and I think may have caused the heightened feelings on the pitch.

  • TheShoot on March 29, 2011, 11:19 GMT

    It wasnt just Kyle Mills, but his captain Vetorri as well. To delight in someone else's misfortune doesnt say much of ones own caracter.

  • Jayzuz on March 29, 2011, 13:39 GMT

    Please spare us the Australia bashing. If you want to criticise NZ by all means do so, but don't turn it into yet another Kiwi Aussie-bashing contest. This negative stereotyping of Australia may make you feel all morally superior, but it also makes you look like whingers.

  • Seppie on March 29, 2011, 14:47 GMT

    To me the "Why Not" answer is very simple

    "Do not be rude to the man with the bat in his hands"

    KKyyllee MMiillss is lucky to be alive.

  • MuSA on March 29, 2011, 15:37 GMT

    "New Zealand are the new Australia"... You must be joking sir :D LMAO!!!

  • Adhiraj Badyal on March 29, 2011, 16:31 GMT

    The Alan Donald influence, most definitely.

  • santosh on March 29, 2011, 17:56 GMT

    Do the players realize that children(and their parents) are watching? Do you have to refer to sisters and mothers just because you took a catch(Virat Kohli) , or bowled a dot ball after conceding a six(Harbhajan)? Same for some Pakistani players and the Canadian Balaji Rao. Yes, we can lip read, and NO we do not approve!