Cornflakes, whisky and our ectrodactyl
Ahhhh that winning feeling. It was nice to have it back as Kiwi cricketing ectrodactyl Martin Guptill clobbered a pull shot off burly Tim Bresnan at Lord's to get the prize.
New Zealand fans appreciate a win more than many: our team is OK at winning sessions and harpoons heaps of moral victories, but for most long-time observers in the Land of the Long White Cloud, our expectations have been managed down to the extent that a win is always a surprise, and often joyous.
Prior to Friday's ODI, the New Zealand team had entered the international cricket colosseum 16 times this year for a quartet of wins, three draws and nine losses. We've not tasted the sweet nectar of winning since The Brendon McCullum Show back in February against England in Hamilton.
As with most pyjama cricket around the globe, the one-day series between New Zealand and England (plus Wales) is an absolute disaster in a fashion sense: luminous scarlet up against a mish-mash of punch-drunk black and blue. The return of brown and tan, inspired by the rabble at our Beige Brigade headquarters, was meant to be a tongue-in-cheek nod to the fashion travesties of the past, but cricket kits are worse now than they have ever been.
Nasser Hussain has been crapping on about the luminous redness of the English tracksuits aligning with successful teams like Manchester United and Ferrari, conveniently overlooking the equally crimson but not-quite-as-good Canadian rugby team, Nottingham Forest football club and the Chinese national cricket team. Or as John Dobson tweeted: "Still, could be worse - they could be playing in Zimbabwe's spares."
Apparently the "red is for winners" research has not yet delved into cricketing results - one for Anantha Narayanan to put on his to-do list, perhaps - but it has been found to be statistically advantageous to wear it in boxing, taekwondo and Greco-Roman wrestling. In football, analysis published in the Journal of Sports Sciences found that EPL teams wearing red for home games in eight English cities delivered "significantly better performance" over a 55-year period than non-red teams.
On the New Zealand side of the sartorial equation, there is no research into the effects of wearing a black tracksuit with blue lines and stylised ocean waves on it. The current Kiwi one-day kit was designed and built by Canterbury Clothing and incorporates a palette with an unsubtle nod to the colours of major sponsor, ANZ Bank.
It will be a-changin' though, because it always does, and because ANZ is rumoured to be pulling pin on its $2m per annum cricket sponsorship in 2014. I reckon that would be curious timing just a few months before the trans-Tasman 2015 World Cup.
Earlier this year Sir John Anderson, the bank's former boss and a cricket administrating leader told the Sunday Star-Times that ANZ was reviewing its umbilical cord to NZ Cricket after it ditched its equine-flavoured National Bank sub-brand: "There will be great cost-savings after they have finished changing the logos. I regret they are probably dropping out of the cricket sponsorship."
In England, ANZ's official logo presence has disappeared completely and floated down The Liffey. In its place we have a massive breastplate iron-on transfer that screams "Royal Stag", a brown and tan logo for an Indian whisky. It's a strange affiliate and the shirts look horrendous, but it's nice to see the reintroduction of some chocolate to our uniform.
Uniforms aside, there is a sensible, mild mustard spice to a New Zealand-England ODI series. Not only will the Kiwis be foaming to return the sting of a home-series loss, they will also have watched the YouTube clips of the steamed-up 2008 series when Ryan Sidebottom and Grant Elliott enjoyed a State of Origin-esque league tackle. Paul Collingwood incited cornflake riots in living rooms around the Shaky Isles by ill-advisedly upholding the run-out effected while Elliott was prone in the middle of The Oval wicket block. Justice was served when New Zealand squeaked home off an overthrow, gloriously squeezed out of the last ball of the match, and the England captain's abysmal sportsmanship inspired memorable scenes of riotous celebration (and abuse) from the players' balcony.
That flashpoint at The Oval was the catalyst for a 3-1 series win for the Kiwis, but more importantly it provided every New Zealand fan choking on their cereal a rare joyous moment and a reason to stay up ridiculously late for the 2013 ODI series. And here we are…
Paul Ford is a co-founder of the Beige Brigade. He tweets here