16 questions for Glenn and the boys

Last updated 12:25 13/07/2009

The Economist got the ball rolling last week with a few questions he would like to ask the selectors - so his are included below, along with a few more...

Cricket cannibals1. How does Gareth Hopkins get a central contract and then not get selected as the backup wicketkeeper for Test cricket - especially when Reece Young has been playing as a specialist batsman for Auckland because Hopkins was doing the keeping? Young is a top bloke, as is Hopkins, but the whole thing seems a bit odd. The problem is in the contracting system itself as Hopkins is seen as a Test and ODI player so gets a ranking in both, but Young and Peter McGlashan are seen as specialist first-class and T20 players respectively.

2. How does Brent Arnel get a central contract one week and then not get selected at all?  This looks like an admission that the returned prodigal son High Tower Tuffey deserved some NZC money.

3. How did Grant Elliott get back in the frame for Test cricket? On The BYC podcast, Kev is on record as calling him "third party, fire and theft", in reference to the fact that he is there as insurance for when our batting top order fails or when the bowlers are getting smashed. His presence is also a safety net for the fragility of Jacob Oram.

4. Why were James Franklin, Tim Southee, Aaron Redmond and Scott Styris singled out as the scapegoat for NZ's underwhelming Twenty20 World Championships performance? They have been axed but they were far from alone as the underperformers on that particular tour.

5. Why did Nathan McCullum not get a contract?

6. As Southee has gone from spearheading the Emerging Players XI to not making the New Zealand squad, is he better described as a submerged player?

7. Why did the New Zealand A selections not take into account the performances of the Emerging Players XI set to play Twenty20 and one-day matches against the emerging players' squads of South Africa, India and Australia this month? Only five emerging players have made the A squad, while Reece Young has made it one step further.

8. What about poor young Trent Boult? He has gone from making the ODI squad to being lost somewhere in the wilderness.

9. Does anyone believe the line that Franklin is better off playing English county cricket rather than turning out for New Zealand A? Better off in terms of pounds earned for Gloucestershire, certainly (and good on him), but it looks as if Franklin has been axed and told he wouldn't be close to being on the next flight into Sri Lanka even if he was in India with the A team.

10. How can Styris go from hero to zero so quickly? Or was he asked but too gutted to join the New Zealand A squad? Once he gets his NZC non-objection certificate (freeing him from his NZC ties despite having been contracted in the past two years) he will become our latest globetrotting rent-a-cricketer.

11. How did Craig Cumming win the Test selection lottery ahead of Michael Papps and Peter Ingram, then neither of the other two made the A squad either? Based on State Championship cricket last year it was a very close-run thing - pardon the pun - with Cumming returning 784 at an average of 65, Papps close behind with 719 at 60, and Ingram second only to Mathew Sinclair in terms of runs scored with 884 at 63. Ingram is certainly not over the moon about the whole thing, saying: "I rang John Wright and asked what the story was and he hummed and ha-ed for a bit. He said just to keep scoring runs and I was unlucky. I was just the guy who missed out. Yeah, it is [a bit frustrating]. I've scored 2500 runs at 55 in the past three year, so I don't know."

12. Is Ian O'Blogger no longer regarded a limited-overs bowler - have we totally given up on him on that front? Not a bad replacement appears in Shane Bond admittedly, and perhaps on another day the spin triumvirate we have selected would not be required and Dr Cox would be in the squad.

13. Shouldn't Son of Rodney, Aaron Redmond, have made the limited-overs squad? He was one of the few batsmen to show some form in England, and was good enough to make the XI ahead of Neil Broom. He has been rewarded with an axing from the national squad and a trip to India with Peter Fulton.

14. If Indian-born legspinner Tarun Nethula makes the team as the top wicket-taker in the State Championship, shouldn't the top run scorer also make the side? Probably, except that his name was M Sinclair (with 904 runs to his name).

15. Mark Gillespie, wherefore art thou? He told the Dominion Post the day the paperwork was announced: "Fingers crossed I get contracted. I think I'm on the way back to fitness. I should be fit."

16. Michael Mason, wherefore art thou also? He told the Manawatu Evening Standard that it was "pretty disappointing" to find out he hadn't made the contracted list, having been there from 2005-2008. It's only a little thing, but having his father tell him the bad news rather than hearing it from the selectors directly is callous. Look out for him if you're playing football in and around Mangatainoka - more here.

SQUADS

New Zealand (Test): Craig Cumming, Grant Elliott, Daniel Flynn, Martin Guptill, Chris Martin, Brendon McCullum, Tim McIntosh, Iain O'Brien, Jacob Oram, Jeetan Patel, Jesse Ryder, Ross Taylor, Daryl Tuffey, Daniel Vettori and Reece Young.

New Zealand (Limited overs): Shane Bond, Neil Broom, Ian Butler, Grant Elliott, Martin Guptill, Gareth Hopkins (ODIs), Brendon McCullum, Nathan McCullum, Peter McGlashan, (T20), Kyle Mills, Jacob Oram, Jeetan Patel, Jesse Ryder, Ross Taylor, Daniel Vettori.

New Zealand A: Brent Arnel, Shane Bond, Neil Broom, Brendon Diamanti, Peter Fulton, Gareth Hopkins, Jamie How, Peter McGlashan, Nathan McCullum, Kyle Mills, Tarun Nethula, Aaron Redmond, Tim Southee, BJ Watling, Kane Williamson.

NZ Emerging Players: Nick Beard, Hamish Bennett, Te Ahu Davis, Peter Fulton, Colin de Grandhomme, Anaru Kitchen, Tarun Nethula, Jeet Raval, Lance Shaw, Tim Southee, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling, Kane Williamson, George Worker, Reece Young.

64 comments
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JJA   #1   01:02 pm Jul 13 2009

I recall that everyone was very hesitant about Elliott playing in the ODI's in Aussie (earlier this year); he proved that he has the quality to perform at the top.

Yeah, he had a few bad initial tests, but give him a solid run in the team and he will score more runs than Oram would.

Economist   #2   01:24 pm Jul 13 2009

Holden - thanks for the citation.

I think John Patrick put it quite nicely when he said it all smells of Mr Turner's oddball theories. I think that Turner is a pretty intelligent man - witness his reinvention of his own batting style to become an incredibly effective ODI player in his day. But forcing one's idiosyncratic ideas on others when you're effectively playing with their livelihood doesn't seem fair. One or two (hopefully good) left-field calls are what selectors are there for, but coming up with 16 generally valid questions suggests that too much decision making is being done on hunches and personalities.

My question 17: Which of the three creepy-crawlies are Turner, Nash, and Wright? I'm not so sure about the latter two, but I'd be willing to bet that Turner is the one in the middle - facing the other way just to be different. Too bad that his backside is in everyone else's faces, of course.

straw   #3   01:58 pm Jul 13 2009

To be fair a couple of those questions are pretty easy to answer - Boult, Gillespie and Mason were all fringe to start with and have slipped further down the fast-bowler list with the return of Bond and Tuffey. Makes sense, though looks like the end for Mason and possibly Gillespie as well. And last years home series against England was clearly last-chance saloon for Sinclair, so can understand why the selectors are loath to pick him again.

What I wouldn't give to be able to listen in to one of those selection meetings...

brad   #4   02:01 pm Jul 13 2009

JJA - saying that elliot will score more runs than Oram is hardly a compelling arguement (and that's still debatable). I hope we don't waste a test spot on him trying to 'give him a solid run'.

John Patrick   #5   04:47 pm Jul 13 2009

'Facing the other way just to be different' love it Economist! Yes, Turner as we all know, was a brilliant batsman, his stats are just astounding for a NZer - but he is not a selectors backside. Hes warped. He'd be far Better suited to using his strengths and that would be helping our top order with specialist one one coaching (like Wright does now and then). How about Wright with McIntosh & Flynn and Turner with Guptill & Cumming? Hnag on, NZC would never be that logical. Anyhow I'm looking forward to Elliott been given another chance in tests, we all know he had a Barry Crocker in his one and only test in Napier, but he came on in leaps and bounds last year on the international stage, even though it was ODIs. He has a technique does Grant 'Rangi' Elliott.

Economist   #6   05:18 pm Jul 13 2009

JP, you forgot that Elliott also played the two-day test against Bangladesh (8* batting at #8, did not bowl), and then 9 and 0 against the Aussies at Brisbane batting at #7 - at least on that occasion he rolled down 16 overs and picked up the wicket of Mitchell Johnson. I'm afraid I'm not holding my breath... I'd like to be proven wrong but he's not going to get a start unless Big Jake falls over (which, of course, is a definite possibility).

Rant Policeman   #7   05:26 pm Jul 13 2009

You mean his "one and only Test" apart from those other two Tests - or are Test matches against Australia and Bangladesh not worth counting? Lindsay's brother Barry Crocker indeed.

John Patrick   #8   06:57 pm Jul 13 2009

3 tests - thats a huge amount of opportunity. And are we forgetting that others failed in that test, we did lose, again. We had totals of 156 and 177 in that test - yet its all his fault? Couldn't get over 300 on a flat deck in the next test either. Besides, others have had far more chances in tests lately. He clearly needs more of a go in tests.

brad   #9   08:20 pm Jul 13 2009

I'm not sure what the Elliot test team supporters would be expecting from him. He's never going to pick up a bag of wickets. He's unlikley to score big runs. So what's the point? Another mediocre bits and pieces test player. I just don't understand.

You can't select him and bat him at #8 - wtf is the point of that? Seriously.

Economist   #10   08:54 pm Jul 13 2009

Sorry John, first impressions last... until they've had something to definitely prove them wrong anyway. Elliott looked absolutely awful with the bat on debut against England - even Bell batted with more assurance in that match, and that's not saying much. I have no problem at all with him in the one-day side, plays a very similar role to Chris Harris - not the biggest of hitters, going to bore you out with his bowling rather than blow you off the park. For that reason I'm yet to be convinced about his T20 credentials either (although Harry has shown, at least at domestic level, that his no frills approach can work).

Put it this way, since Elliott made his NZ debut (or the IPL auctions occurred, take your pick):

Tests: Oram: 239 runs @ 39.82, SR 57.59; 3 wkts @ 51.33, econ 1.71 Elliott: 27 runs @ 6.75, SR 23.47; 2 wkts @ 64.50, econ 3.22 Franklin: 139 runs @ 19.85, SR 32.86; 4 wkts @ 117.25, econ 3.42

ODIs: Oram: 258 runs @ 32.25, SR 97.72; 12 wkts @ 27.66, econ 3.75 Elliott: 421 runs @ 52.62, SR 82.06; 13 wkts @ 24.66, econ 5.10 Franklin: NA

T20s: Oram: 110 runs @ 13.75, SR 115.78; 1 wkt @ 158.00, econ 7.90 Elliott: 23 runs @ NA, SR 76.66; 1 wkt @ 11.00, econ 11.00 Franklin: 39 runs @ 9.75, SR 105.40; 0 wkts, econ 7.71

Not a lot to choose between Oram and Elliott at ODI level (I'll give Elliott the advantage there on the basis of his batting, although his strike rate and economy rates are inferior). For tests or T20s, he's done nothing to convince me that he should have Oram's place if Oram is fit. Indeed, if Oram isn't fit, Franklin arguably offers more as a test number six than Elliott. TBH, I'd just use Ryder as my fourth seamer (4 wkts @ 39 beats any of the other three) and play another specialist batsman.


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