READER REPORT:

Off the long run: We need grit and glory

KAAL KACZMAREK
Last updated 12:00 11/02/2013
Dean Brownlie
Getty Images
HITTING OUT: Dean Brownlie.

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Off the long run

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All out for 45. I rubbed my eyes and vowed that this would be the end. I felt betrayed, dismayed and disgusted. Like catching your partner with their pants down in a grubby toilet, instead of in satin sheets.

As the days passed, I weakened and caught glimpses of grit and flashes of fight from highlight reels.

It started me thinking: What is the problem with the Black Caps' current crop? It is not really a case of how the mighty have fallen but more how the average battlers stopped battling.

I saw Dean Brownlie score a 100, but while it was a terrific innings, his style is like Martin Guptill's, which is like Brendon McCullum's, which is like Ross Taylor's, which is like Jessie Ryder's: exhilarating when it comes off, but streaky, very streaky.

New Zealand has had a few bona fide batting stars in the past - Martin Crowe's off drive, Chris Cairn's on drive and Stephen Fleming's pulls were beautiful to watch.

However, in order to reach those glorious hundreds and double hundreds, someone had to be backing up down the other end of the pitch. Remember Andrew Jones, Mark Richardson and John Wright? They never had Federer or Fleming-like grace but they could occupy the crease, take a few body blows and stare down a fast bowler.

So my challenge to the national selectors is this: create a mix of grit and glory. Stubborn and stylish. For every Hadlee, find a Chatfield. All out for 450.


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