Black Caps just highlight sport's uncertainty

GLENN MCLEAN
Last updated 05:00 26/01/2013

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Opinion

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OPINION: The cork on that magnum bottle of frustration the New Zealand cricket side has had tucked away in its dressing room finally got popped yesterday.

After the test series humiliation, no-one really expected the cork to come off in the first one-day international.

The fact most New Zealand press agencies had packed their bags and headed home after the second test was indication enough of that.

That the Black Caps did the unthinkable and knocked over South Africa was amazing in itself, as much as the fact that James Franklin was in the middle hitting the winning runs.

Franklin is an enigma.

Blessed with more than enough talent to compete on the international stage, he fails to show it consistently enough. Mind you, he's hardly alone in this side.

More often than not you're left utterly frustrated at Franklin's laid-back attitude in the middle when he gives the impression that the crisis surrounding him is no big deal.

That was certainly the case in the first test when he just didn't look prepared to dig in and go toe-to-toe with speedster Dale Steyn.

It is guys like Franklin who make sport such a wonderful thing, though.

Just when you think you have a handle on it, the opposite happens.

Just a few examples from the weekend: Lance Armstrong finally confesses to doping, the Black Caps win in South Africa, Michael Campbell stays in contention for a European title as Rory Mcllroy and Tiger Woods miss the cut, and the Phoenix leak seven to the second-to-bottom team in the A League.

I wonder what sort of price a decent bookie would have given if you'd taken that multi to them on Friday morning?

The highlight of the weekend was not Franklin's match-winning 47 not out, however.

No, that honour goes to firebrand left-armer Mitchell McClenaghan, who produced some magic spells to end his one-day international debut with figures of 10-2-20-4.

Late swing, great line and length and, the best part of all, it was delivered with a bit of attitude.

Put simply, it was just nice to see someone with a fern on their shirt standing up and saying "I'm here to compete with you bastards" instead of frigidly facing up to what is coming before meekly surrendering, or in Jeetan Patel's case - running away to square leg.

McClenaghan's late uncle, Fulton, long preached his view that his nephew should be in the New Zealand side and perhaps a few more people should have listened.

The victory certainly deflected, for a short time anyway, the attention from the latest PR disaster surrounding NZ Cricket - the Shane Bond letter.

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Top marks to Radio Sport for getting their hands on it.

As for Bond putting the whole issue behind him, as the spin doctors at NZ Cricket would have you believe, you just can't buy it.

There are obviously a number of issues that still need to be sorted out and I found it quite incredible that NZ Cricket chief executive David White was not in the country to deal with it.

When an organisation is in the middle of a crisis of such proportions, the last place you would expect its chief executive to be is on holiday.

Maybe it was stress leave.

- Taranaki Daily News

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