My corner of the oval

… thoughts from a Kiwi cricket fan

The best part about having breakfast with the Black Caps …

Well, okay, there’s probably number of reasons to be stoked to receive an invitation to a morning breakfast function with sponsors and other supporters of the New Zealand Black Caps …

Like the MC for the morning being the legendary Gavin Larsen.

Or seeing Shane Bond, Craig McMillan, Daniel Vettori and Kyle Mills walk in to join the gathering, and realising they are there to participate in the “question and answer” session!

Or, on the way out of the hotel, hold the lift for the other people waiting for it and realise that it’s Daniel Vettori and Kyle Mills heading towards you, to catch the same lift as you!!! (Seriously, have you ever stood beside those two? Talk about make me feel even MORE “petite” than I already am – haha!)

Or overhearing Kyle and Daniel on the way to their waiting transportation that they just had to wait for Craig McMillan to join them, and one of them suggesting he went back for more of the delicious bacon served at breakfast!

Actually, the best part about having breakfast with the Black Caps this morning was hearing Daniel Vettori say that the team isn’t even focussed on the upcoming World Cup just yet; there is still three one day international matches to be played (versus Sri Lanka and Pakistan) and everyone wants to win those well, and be in an even better state for the Cup!

And I love how Craig McMillan mentioned how the players always had something they wanted to work on, and improve themselves even further.

Just one of the many reasons to continue supporting and cheering for this team of cricketers; focussed, determined, and humble all at the same time.

They simply deserve to win and keep playing so well, because they are willing to keep working hard, and put in their best effort every time they take the field!

Oh and happy birthday Dan! Sorry I didn’t remember to tell you in person ūüôā

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Dear Black Caps …

I missed the opportunity of signing your Book of Best Wishes for the World Cup, so I decided that I would write my own letter to you instead!

Let me start by saying what an absolute privilege it has been to watch the last 13-14 months of cricket, as a New Zealand cricket fan, and see the hard work paying off in so many ways, with results across all forms of cricket!

It will be some time before I forget how it felt being at the Basin Reserve on 18 February, hearing the applause around me and having tears in my eyes as I realised that finally New Zealand was cheering for someone I have cheered for for many years already!

And those same feelings were reciprocated less than 12 months later, on another Tuesday in Wellington, when the fans again stood and applauded for another batting milestone from someone who I personally could watch bat all day (and I did, throughout that second test match at the Basin Reserve this year – heh heh!)

It would be so easy to get lifted off the ground and let all this success and good fortune go to our heads, but, and this is another reason to be proud of this year, I will take a leaf out of your book and keep my feet on the ground and look forward to the next challenge ahead.

Which is the One-Day series against Sri Lanka … and following that, the World Cup competition!

And it will be a challenge.  But I think this team has shown that they are up for this challenge, and they have the personnel to withstand what comes their way each match and learn and adapt to each situation.

And you can be sure that I, for one, will be backing you 100%!

So,¬†Corey Anderson, Trent Boult, Grant Elliot, Martin Guptill, Tom Latham, Mitch McClenaghan, Brendon McCullum, Nathan McCullum, Kyle Mills, Adam Milne, Luke Ronchi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Daniel Vettori, Kane Williamson, Mike Hesson, Mike Sandle, Bob Carter, Shane Bond, Craig McMillan, and to the rest of the team who work tirelessly behind the scenes and never seem to get the recognition success brings sports teams … I say this: ¬†Keep¬†doing what you’ve been doing over the last few months that has got you to this point; it’s not starting again, but building on what has been learned so far and taking it further!

I have full confidence in the skills and abilities and experience in each one of you to be able to take each game as it comes over the next couple of months, and to succeed!

But also to do so as you have done over the last few months – with respect for each other, respect for the opposition, respect for the authorities, and importantly, respect for the game!

Thank you for where you have taken us the fans over the last twelve months; and know that we are supporting you for the next months in what lies ahead!

#backtheBlackCaps … absolutely!!!

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Reasons to be proud …

So many reasons to be proud to have been at the Basin Reserve in Wellington this week, as the New Zealand Black Caps took on Sri Lanka in the second of two test matches.

Firstly, and probably most importantly, proud that the Black Caps again showed that losing the coin toss¬†doesn’t mean much in test cricket these days, as they skilfully beat the Sri Lankans by 193 runs.

Scoreboard from NZ v Sri Lanka test match, 3-7 January 2015, Basin Reserve, Wellington

Another reason to be proud was the fantastic batsmanship on display. ¬†Firstly from one of the best batsmen in the world, Kumar Sangakkara as he expertly guided his team’s first innings to one that lead New Zealand at “half time.”

And then from Kane Williamson and BJ Watling as they brought their team back from a precarious position to one of ultimately, a winning position!

Kane Williamson and BJ Watling put on 350 runs for the 6th wicket (photo courtesy of Cricinfo)

Kane Williamson and BJ Watling put on 350 runs for the 6th wicket (photo courtesy of Cricinfo)

I was also proud of the way both teams behaved towards each other.

There was none of this ugly “sledging” which seems to blight many international cricketing fixtures these days, as both teams just went about their “jobs” skilfully and tactically, without needing to belittle or disrespect the skills of their opponents.

I was also proud of the fact that the fans who went along to view all five days of the test match treated¬†both¬†sides, not just the home side as you’d expect, with respect and appreciation. ¬†I can’t remember how many times Kumar Sangakkara was applauded from the Terraces and the embankment on day two as he accumulated his double century. ¬†Likewise, when it came Kane Williamson’s turn on day four, he received his share of applause and ovations from all fans – fans who seemed to appreciate the skills on show, as well as the fact they were witnessing history and a winning match!

So thank you, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, and fans alike, for your parts in making this week’s test cricket at the Basin Reserve one to be remembered not only with pride at the results, but also at the way the results were obtained!

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It’s not okay …

Why is it so okay in this day and age to run down and disrespect other people and places?

Over the last couple of weeks, I have been enjoying some fabulous cricket from the New Zealand and Sri Lankan cricket teams as they battle in a two-test match series, in Christchurch and in Wellington.

Which means that I have had the absolute pleasure of being able to watch one test match live and in the flesh at my home ground, the world-renowned Basin Reserve, and I was privileged to be able to watch practically every moment of the test from the Hagley Oval in Christchurch on my TV set.

Which brings me to my observation for today …

How is it, that the Sky Sport commentary team were able to¬†every day, it seemed, find every single opportunity to praise and speak glowingly about the Hagley Oval, and about Christchurch, and about the people of Christchurch, and then all the wonderful things that you can do in the Christchurch area …

And then, it’s like a switch was flicked as the test series moved to Wellington and suddenly they find every excuse and reason to degrade and disrespect the city and the people who live there!!

I would really love one or all of the commentary team to be able to comment below and explain this strange phenomenon to me, please!

I do realise that most of the commentary team for Sky Sports and the cricket now seem to be mostly based in Auckland, our largest city in New Zealand, so is it really just jealously that they don’t have such world-class venues and set-ups in their own city? ¬†Or that they can’t entice their own people of Auckland along to all five days of a cricket test match?! ¬†Surely it can’t be as simple as that, can it?

But at the end of the day, it’s still not good enough!

What gives anyone the right to run-down or disrespect or degrade anyone or anything in this life?

And then if you tell people that what they are saying is hurtful, we are just told to “suck it up” or “get over it; it was just a joke.” ¬†Why is it so acceptable¬†to “joke” at someone else’s expense and then expect them to not only say nothing in return, but to not be hurt by our words? ¬†We often get told this by people living outside of Wellington … and yet, when their turn comes to host a major event, be it sporting or otherwise, we are often the first in line to congratulate them and to back them up in their preparations and enjoyment of the event; why does it not go both ways?

I am not expecting anything to change much today, sadly, as rain showers have been forecast in Wellington for the first time in about three weeks and look likely to disrupt the day’s play at the test match … but apparently it never rains anywhere else in the country, so once again, this will be a slight on this fine city of people who always go out of their way for other people, and who are always generous¬†with¬†their time and money to help others (one example of this was the “Fill the Basin” event we had a few years back to raise money when Christchurch was so devastatingly hit by earthquakes!)

Is there a clause somewhere in the Laws of New Zealand that says everyone must put down Wellington and all who reside in her, at every possible moment?!!

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Summer of cricket …

I haven’t blogged in a while, but that’s just cause there’s been SO much fantastic cricket being played by our New Zealand Black Caps and I have just been enjoying the skill and results forthcoming!

I do have to make a couple of points after observing a net training session the Black Caps had this afternoon in Wellington, before the second test match against Sri Lanka starting on Saturday.

Apart from the fact that it was an awesomely stunning sunny day …

  • Doug Bracewell was steaming in during his bowling time in the nets; he clearly wants to get back in the team!
  • It was cool to observe Hamish Rutherford, Ross Taylor, Jimmy Neesham, Kane Williamson and Tom Latham all having one on one coaching sessions with Bob Carter
  • Kane Williamson is just as pleasant to watch batting in the nets, as he is on the field of play!!!
  • Brendon McCullum sure can hit a cricket ball HARD!!! ¬†Actually, not just Brendon – all the batsmen I observed having a bit of batting time were hitting the cricket ball jolly hard! ¬†I mean, how even do the fielders stop the ball in match play, anyway?!
  • Kane Williamson has the cutest laugh … and his bowling is coming along well too, after his recent “tweaking” of his action.
  • Tim Southee and Trent Boult are a lot bigger in person than they are on TV – haha!
  • Oh and Tim, were you glancing at me cause you recognised me, or some other reason?!!

I so cannot wait till Saturday!!!

Although, given that I got sunburnt just from standing beside the nets this afternoon, I’d better be slathering on the sunblock for the next few days if the weather is going to be like this every day of the test!

Mark Craig, Brendon McCullum and Kane Williamson in the nets on the eve of the second test versus Sri Lanka

Mark Craig, Brendon McCullum and Kane Williamson in the nets on the eve of the second test versus Sri Lanka

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