Friday, February 4, 2011

The Black Caps - Why Rotation Fails

Just weeks away from the 2011 World Cup, the New Zealand cricket management decided to enforce the rotation policy and give a wide pool of players a trial run in various batting positions.

Come again?

Lets reel off reasons why this won't work.
  1. The selectors appeared to have settled down their batting lineup at least, and despite the horrible ODI losing streak, there was no doubt that these were our best batsmen. Tells us a fair bit about the state of NZ cricket though. 
  2. We do not have the depth to afford such luxuries. India can find a dozen street cricketers who will make our bowlers look silly. Australia can drop and forget cricketers like Bichel, Bracken, Stuart Clark (and Bevan... and Blewett... and Mark Waugh...). We can't.
  3. After spending months grooming Brendon McCullum as an opening batsmen, they suddenly decide he is our new lower order enforcer? Dumb, remembering that our lower order bats quite well anyway.
  4. It doesn't look like either the captain, former players or newly appointed coach agree with it.
"You'd imagine the purpose of the exercise with this series is to be as well prepared as possible to play in India for the World Cup but after four games you'd have to say that hasn't been achieved in any way, shape or form." - John Morrison

To highlight Vettori's confusion about this whole fiasco, he was quoted to be "fiddling with the guys" during the toss in a recent match. Oh dear.

So why? Maybe heads had to roll after being constantly drubbed in the ODI format of the game (but isn't that why we sack coaches). Maybe New Zealand just took it one step further to really shake up the hornets nest.

Rotation didn't help these guys. © Laurence Griffiths / Getty Images

So lets play selector. My chosen XI reads:
  1. McCullum
  2. Ryder
  3. Guptill
  4. Taylor
  5. Styris
  6. Franklin
  7. Nathan McCullum
  8. Vettori
  9. Southee
  10. Mills
  11. Milne
12th Man. Grant Elliot, who is a good utility that can slot in anywhere in the middle to lower order. Decent batsman and a handy bowler. The ideal stop gap.

Unlucky. Kane Williamson. He has the technique, and looks like a long term no.3 or 4 to me. He just looks a confused about his role in the ODI game at the moment, and the top four places are already stable.

Why Milne? Give him a shot, he is an unknown factor who can get it up at 150km/h. Could be a real surprise package and there are no other decent seam bowlers that demand a spot. Remember Bond was a gamble too when he started out. If he fails, we have plenty of backup bowling.

Why not Oram? Just looks too rusty after all those injuries. Harsh luck for him, but he doesn't bring enough to the table at the moment.


  1. I was going to say take Williamson over Styris as I'd be happier with 5 proper batsmen - but looking back over the series Styris is the one you want, even as a batsman alone. Only thing I'd consider is putting Franklin at 5 and Styris at 6.

    I like your pick of Milne. It's been our bowling more than our batting letting us down lately so it'd be good to stir things up.

  2. Professor Ian CollinsFebruary 11, 2011 at 4:27 PM

    I would also put Mills at 9 and Southee at 10 - Mills is a proven batsman in my opinion, and has batted at 4 and 5 in domestic cricket.

    If Southee were to be sent home for, say, committing lewd acts on other players' sisters, whom would you choose to replace him as a strike bowler, Elliot?

  3. @Jase, agree about Franklin. He has a better batting technique than pretty much everyone in the team. I guess it depends on whether we are 20/3 or 200/3.

    @Professor Ian, Southee smashed 77 on test debut including nine sixes. Sleeping giant in my opinion. If Southee is sent home for being a ladies man, i'd have kept Tuffey in my reserves as a backup bowler. At least he has experience and *some* control.