After tuning in to parts of the recently completed New Zealand V India test and ODI series played in New Zealand, I must admit that I’m really pissed off. For a few years now, I’ve taken a fairly keen interest in the plight of the Kiwi cricket team.
It seemed, a few years back, that New Zealand were really going places. Back in 2000 the Kiwi’s pulled of some sort of a coup by beating India in the final of the ICC Champions Trophy. Now I know that the Champions Trophy isn’t the most respected tournament, but nevertheless it was an indication of the fact that New Zealand cricket was going somewhere. With players such as Stephen Fleming, Craig McMillan, Geoff Allott and Shane Bond, Kiwi cricket was on the rise.
Now, there is no doubt that somewhere along the way, something has gone horribly wrong for the Kiwi’s. They’ve lost players to the ICL, IPL and County cricket. But the problem is, is that the Kiwi commentators just haven’t got the picture. Seriously, throughout the last couple of series I have seen the Kiwi’s play, the New Zealand commentators just keep on espousing the potential of their national side.
“Oh, (Martin) Guptil is New Zealand’s answer to the Indians”
“Iain O’Brien is a real threat to the Indians here”
I kid you not, I tuned into the start of day four of the last test of the series and the Kiwi commentators were talking about the fact that New Zealand didn’t need to score at a quick rate to make the runs (over 550 mind you). When Ross Taylor came out and started slashing and dashing, in a game that was quite obviously only ever going to be saved, the Kiwi commentators started lauding his efforts, and heralding the forthcoming New Zealand victory. The fact that rain saved the Kiwi’s on the final day, with them at 8 down and still some 300 runs behind, in a series that they lost, is a true indication of the laughable nature of the commentary.
It’s time for New Zealand cricket to realise where they are at. India had not won a series in New Zealand for 40-odd years, and if it weren’t for inclement weather, and the efforts of the impressive Jesse Ryder, the victory would have been far more comprehensive. The fact is that teams (and their commentators) have to come to the realisation that their team has hit rock bottom. It is only then that the team can emerge. Take the West Indies for an example. No group of national commentators (Cozier, Bishop, Holding) have been more critical of their national team. These wise old heads continually questioned poor administrative and selection procedures. As a result, it seems that the West Indies are rising from their exile, and are becoming a force again. It will not be until commentators such as Ian Smith really allow their country’s players to realise that there is nowhere but up to go that the national team can grow. And until then, it’s just plain comedy.
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