Hang about, this from a nation that produced such personalities as Jonny Wilkinson, Becks and Princess Anne? FFS!
Though I think you're right, NZ is a team of all-rounders; a few dibbly-dobbly bowlers and a class paceman and finger-spinner combined with a single but fragile stroke-maker and a handful of belters. That said, cricket seems dominated by bowlers who strangle oppositions, McGrath for instance, and unorthodox batsmen so why shouldn't we win?
The English cricketing media have bugger all to feel good about - Freddie's been spayed and their only real personalities are a Saffa and a Sikh.
I enjoyed Grant's post. That c-word again ... shades of Matthew Engel in '99.
But there's an element of truth in the comments. The best cricket sides (a purist writes) have batsmen and bowlers who win Tests, and then transfer those skills to the artificial game (ODIs, Max, 20-20, next year's model ...). We certainly lack a Crowe (Lara/Tendulkar/Ponting), but at least have a Bond (Walsh/McGrath/Donald).
We can't complain really. As long as we don't turn up to watch Tests, overseas media will think of NZ as a nation of patcher-uppers with a short atention span, who are indifferent to - and average at - the Real Game. Our hero isn't Bradman, it's Chris Harris.
Isn't this a kind of Pot / Kettle / Black situation? Flintoff and Pieterson aside, England has an equal number of grafters / journeymen. When Nixon got called up during the Commonwealth Bank series, he was selected largely on the basis of being 'a bit chirpy'.
Tall poppies in the Black Caps tend to get clamped down on pretty hard - see Glen Turner, Martin Crowe, Adam Parore, etc, not to mention the uproar about the recent Sri Lanka series. We're just getting on with it, that's not a bad thing.
Funny thing is, Viv Richards is saying nice things about New Zealand, and one of the things he likes is that they're getting on with the job without a lot of noise and posturing.
Hard to disagree with that sentiment about charisma being a dangerous quality among sportsmen. The New Zealanders have a much improved steel in their eye in recent times. Partly it's a result of the team culture of showponies Parore, Cairns et al having dwindled. Astle was widely regarded as providing that unequivocal grit that the professional era needs, but during his tenure the side never quite achieved a complete balance – perhaps a symptom of his wayward affections.
In the current configuration Bracewell is doing a good job, though I've written to him suggesting he banishes from the kit-bags the headphones and hair product.
Astle? who was he again?
Isn't it amazing how quickly you can forget someone when the team is performing well without him.
And Richard - I agree with your first para above re England, but I don't usually think of Parore at the same time as Turner and Crowe. Was he ever really a tall poppy, or just a bit puffed up?
Hang about: this side has made two of the top three succesful run chases in One Day International history, right before the tournament starts and gets called boring.
Yes the cricket in this tournament has been more muted compared to the Chapple-Hadlee series simply because of the lopsided nature of the NZ contest thus far. England collapsed and offered little resistance, so too did the West Indies and Bangladesh. I have no doubt that the rest of the S8 rounds will be a little more stressful.
Perhaps a decent tussle with Ireland (a la the Enligsh performance) would earn the admiration of the Guardian writers?
Let's not get sucked into the Stephen Jones Syndrome, where press reports from overseas are cherry-picked and fed to our thin-skinned public in a mutually sustaining round of fabricated outrage.
Mike Selvey is a good writer, one of many in the UK press. And in context his comments were hardly laced with vinegar. Read the coverage of England's recent Ashes debacle if you really want to see a media mauling.
But then, his reports are not filed with the "assistance" of his national cricket body.
Well said on the Stephen Jones Syndrome; we do still seem to get sucked in by that bait.
But Selvey's article (and I am enjoying listening to him on the radio at the Cup) has a fair element of green envy in it I thought.
Anyway, wait until we need to call on our flambouyant middle-order to win some games; then the Brazil comparisons can come out :)
Mike - yes I thought Parore got a lot of grief during his time, probably becuase he a. was good looking b. had bags of confidence and c. lived in Auckland more than anything else. He didn't really fit with the down home 'gee shucks' attitude we Kiwis love so much.
And Roger, not everyone agree with Sir Viv..