Today: a lull.
The first test between Sri Lanka and Pakistan is still two days away. The dead rubber between England and the West Indies is not happening until Friday either. We are two weeks out from the England v Australia ODIs, and the SA-ZIM-BANG tri-series just is not my cup of tea. And on top of all of that, county cricket is in the midst of the Friends Life T20, a competition that just does not do it for me.
This morning, the top stories on Cricinfo were a selection brouhaha involving Younis Khan, Daniel Vettori announcing that he was making himself available for the World T20s in September, some New Zealand contract something something, and a note about the aforementioned tri-series.
You know the cricket world is experiencing a lull when fully 50% of Cricinfo’s headlines are about New Zealand cricket.
That is not a knock on my Kiwi friends; but rather a statement on the fact that New Zealand is treated like the red-headed stepchild of the cricketing world.
South Africa’s decision to turn the traditional Boxing Day test into a non-traditional Boxing Day twenty20 is just another checkmark in the “step-child” column for New Zealand cricket.
This despite the fact that they always seem to make a bit of noise in one-day international tournaments, and actually have a mildly decent record in test cricket.
In the 371 tests they have played since obtaining test status in 1930, they have won 71, drawn 151, and lost the rest. That’s a draw/win versus losing percentage of nearly 60%.
England’s draw/win versus losing percentage since 1930?
And they played almost 400 more tests in that time period than NZ did.
Okay, whatever, nevermind about the tests.
My point is that for whatever reason, New Zealand cricket gets roundly ignored by everyone outside of New Zealand. Bangladesh and Zimbabwe get more press it seems, even. And I think that’s a shame. They are a cricket loving nation that makes noise in World Cups, has lovely cricket grounds, and more often than not puts a quality test side on the pitch.
Their current side is made up of several young and exciting cricketers that I am looking forward to watching develop over the next few years:
And so what’s next for these young cricketers:
The West Indies for two Twenty20s, five ODIs, and two tests. Then to India in August for two tests and two Twenty20s.
After the T20 World Cup, they travel to South Africa for two Twenty20s, two tests, and three ODIs, and then finally it is off to England for two tests, five ODIs, two Twenty20s, and the Champions Trophy.
A big 12 months for New Zealand cricket is on the horizon. Not one home match, and visits to South Africa, India, and England. I do not envy them, it is not going to be easy, but if they can win a series here, and a series there, and make it to the knockout stages of the T20 World Cup and the Champions Trophy, then people just might start talking about them again – and not just on slow news days.