James Franklin bitter over axing
James Franklin, the New Zealand allrounder, is shocked at missing out on a central contract after what he felt was a strong summer in the national side. Franklin, 30, was last week left out of the 20-man contract list for the second year in a row, and he said he was disappointed after playing all three formats for New Zealand over the past six months.
"I can't change what they have done," Franklin told the Dominion Post. "This is a tough one. Last year I was half expecting it, but this one has come out of the blue and I'm a bit bitter. In my last 14 one-day innings I've averaged 54, but they've made their decision. To miss out entirely on a Test ranking is a hard one for me to fathom. I feel I have a huge amount to offer in the longer form of the game."
The national selection manager, Mark Greatbatch, said Franklin was unlucky to miss out, and while his best performances were excellent, he did not display the sort of consistency New Zealand wanted. Franklin conceded he didn't have impact he would have liked at the World Cup, coming on the back of an outstanding series against India in December.
"If I pinpoint anything I didn't do, which I wanted to do, it was my World Cup performances," Franklin said. "But there were a couple of early games when I didn't get a bat or bowl so I suddenly felt I had no form. Because it was a World Cup, it got microscoped a fair bit and that seemed to be the last point of memory in terms of sorting out contracts."
One of the factors highlighted by Greatbatch was Franklin's disappointing bowling in recent times. Although he began his international career as a bowler who could bat, Franklin has become more of a batting allrounder and he believes that is an area that he needs to work on.
"There is stuff to tidy up in my bowling - there is no two ways in that," he said. "My stats say I'm a good first-class bowler but that hasn't always been the case at the next level. I need to get the venom back I had four to five years ago when I was in the mid to high 130s."
He also said his passive exterior - he is not the kind of bowler who shows serious aggression towards a batsman - should not be held against him. "People have been going on about that for years," he said. "I remember one of the selectors saying that years ago. I am what I am. I'm not a 21-year-old, I'm 30, I've played a bit now.
"There are things to tidy up in my game but the cop-out of being angry and all that stuff is not who I am. I like to win and do well but getting in someone's face and showing anger is a cop-out. I don't need to do that - that is not me."
Last year, Franklin considered using his Irish passport to become a local player in county cricket, but the lure of playing in a World Cup stopped him from taking that path. Again this year he is reluctant to turn his back on New Zealand while hopes of an international comeback remain.