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The problem with New Zealand

Whisper it: the Black Caps are killing Test cricket

Alan Tyers
Martin Guptill was cleaned up by Rory Kleinveldt, South Africa v New Zealand, 2nd Test, Port Elizabeth, 3rd day, January 13, 2013

New Zealand: if Test cricket were pop music, they'd be its Rebecca Black  •  Associated Press

The pressure group Save Test Cricket claims that the oldest format of the game faces a new and worrying threat to its long-term survival.
Previous hazards to the primacy of the five-day game have included T20 cricket, young West Indian men playing basketball, Indian television companies, universal suffrage, and allowing women into the Pavilion at Lord's.
However, it seems that Test cricket may be facing a more serious hazard than ever before: the New Zealand Test team.
"It's hard enough to promote Test cricket in the face of competing leisure activities," said a spokesperson for the group. "There's no denying that people, for some reason, enjoy watching the likes of Chris Gayle and MS Dhoni hitting sixes in packed stadiums with celebrities and dancing girls rather than Bangladesh v Zimbabwe Test matches in front of a bemused crowd of bussed-in schoolchildren and the odd farm animal.
"Tests are competing in the same leisure marketplace as the IPL, video games, pop music, filming your unmentionables on a mobile phone and posting the results on the internet. We get it. But New Zealand are absolutely killing us here with their performances against South Africa.
"Who wants to watch this sort of one-sided slaughter?"
The group is becoming concerned that forcing the apparently defenceless Kiwis to play Test cricket could "actually constitute an issue for the UN on human rights grounds". At the very least, it is clear that the long-term future for the five-day format is under threat like never before, thanks to Mike Hesson's baffled and battered Black Caps.
Save Test Cricket has attempted to stage an intervention, with patron and celebrity humanitarian Bono making a personal plea to the Kiwis.
"Bono has, once again, put his hand up and come to the party," confirmed the spokesman. "He wrote a personal letter to Brendon McCullum to urge him to think of the proud history of New Zealand Test cricket and get his act together. Bono plays mahjong every Thursday with Sir Richard Hadlee, so he knows what he is talking about."
Other celebrities have been rallying round as they try to convince the New Zealand Test team to stop disgracing the game's most storied format. Jane Fonda has been helping Martin Guptill with his foot movement at the crease, so far without success.
"Fair play to Jane, she's tried everything in her powers, but we've yet to see results," admitted coach Hesson. "It's not for want of hard work, though, that much I can tell you."
Unless New Zealand can become competitive very soon, there appears to be no other alternative than to split Test cricket into two divisions, with the Kiwis having to play Tests against the likes of Bangladesh, Wales, Cyprus, and tribeswomen from remote parts of the Amazon who have never seen a cricket ball before. If that fails, the only realistic hope is to wait for time travel to be invented and send them back to the 1990s to face England.

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