“Rubbish” West Indies slammed by cricket followers

The West Indies cricket team are coming under heavy fire following one of their worst Test performances, and rightly so.

Beaten by Australia to the tune of an innings and 212 runs in Hobart, West Indies Cricket have come under heavy criticism from the moment the series began last Thursday.

Former Australian captain Ian Chappell said that the current state of the West Indies side made him feel depressed and labelled the side a “load of rubbish” after a poor opening day to the first Test.

Prior to the Test beginning, a former West Indian Cricket Director said that the side may be disbanded by 2025.

The West Indies recently performed badly during the 2015 Cricket World Cup, and Chris Gayle has come under heavy fire for his lifestyle outside of the game, a story that continues to overshadow the national side.

The current run of form on the international stage makes a mockery of the once great cricketing nation that is the West Indies.

The great West Indian cricket legend Brian Lara has remained silent on the matter and perhaps this is the greatest example of all.

The sport of cricket on the islands of the Caribbean is in a state of complete decay. 20 years of under achievement may finally be coming home to roost.

Guptill’s test selection thoroughly deserved

Martin Guptill’s return to test cricket will, and should be watched with great interest during the upcoming English tour.

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Guptill has been absent from the test arena for the past couple of seasons.

The Blackcaps selectors have experimented with Hamish Rutherford, Peter Fulton, and Tom Latham as the top of the order.

All of those batsmen performed well, but Blackcaps coach Mike Hesson says that Guptill can cover a “variety” of batting positions in the test matches.

In his test career, Guptill has two centuries with a highest score of 189 and an average just under 30.

Being the leading run scorer in the Cricket World Cup was always going to begin conversations on Guptill’s return to test cricket, and the Blackcaps selectors haven’t waited on making a decision that some of Guptill’s critics would call a gamble.

While Guptill is clearly a much better batsman in ODI cricket, his career is still young in the test arena and this is an opportunity that the Blackcaps opener has never been in a better position to take advantage of.

CWC 15: Emotion for the ages

Yesterdays Cricket World Cup bout between Australia and New Zealand was one for the ages.

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A packed out Eden Park was brought to its knees after the Blackcaps almost lost what looked to be an easy victory after Trent Boult ripped through Australia’s batting lineup with figures of 5/27.

Brad Haddin was the top scorer for Australia, ending on 43 as Australia collapsed to be all out for 151.

Wether it was poor batting from both sides or some remarkable bowling, Australia clawed themselves out from the clutches of defeat in an over from hell for the Blackcaps.

Mitchell Starc took two wickets in a row and left the Blackcaps needing a further six for victory with just a wicket to spare.

Starc was unable to break through Trent Boult in two attempts.

The next over, Kane Williamson smashed a six down the ground to win the most emotional match of the Cricket World Cup so far.

The biggest concern for both Australia and New Zealand will be how quickly they collapsed with the bat on such a perfect batting deck.

It was always going to be an historical match, but the  February 28th showdown between Australia and New Zealand at Eden Park will go down as one of the most intense, emotional and shocking matches in CWC history.

The latest update from NZ Cricket is that Brendon McCullum’s arm injury is in the all clear – a positive for Blackcaps fans.

CWC 15: Southee brilliance as England implode in Wellington

The Blackcaps have pulled off one of the most dominant performances in CWC history after annihilating England this afternoon in Wellington.

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In a total collapse, England were rolled for just 123 after Tim Southee took career best figures of 7/33.

Not only career best figures, but Southee’s effort with the ball broke another record – the best figures for a New Zealand bowler in ODI cricket.

Middle order Joe Root was the only batsmen to really put up a fight with a score of 46 while the rest of the team proceeded to fall around him.

England captain Eoin Morgan managed to hang around at the crease for a while before getting dismissed for 17 off the bowling of Daniel Vettori.

In the run chase, Brendon McCullum bashed the fastest international half century for a Blackcaps batsmen in ODI cricket.

McCullum smashed eight 4’s and seven 6’s in his knock of 77 which featured a strike rate of over 300 to get New Zealand comfortably on track for victory as the evening break approached.

After McCullum’s dismissal, the crowd boo’d loudly as the umpires signalled the evening break despite the Blackcaps needing just 11 runs for victory.

When play resumed, Martin Guptill was dismissed on 22 as Chris Woakes snuck the ball through to the stumps.

The Blackcaps cruised to an easy 8 wicket victory and are arguably the form team so far at CWC.

Ireland add more misery to West Indies Cricket

It didn’t take Ireland long to cause an upset at the Cricket World Cup as the green machine stuffed out the West Indies by a comfortable margin of 4 wickets this afternoon.

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It wasn’t as if Ireland chased down a mediocre score to win either.

The West Indies set a total of 304, and the Irish chased it down with relative ease.

The West Indies were in trouble early, but like other teams have shown already at this CWC, managed to use a couple of batsmen to work their way to a good strong total.

Ireland in their reply batted what could be called almost the perfect run chase.

All the batsmen put in solid scores, including a brilliant knock of 92 by opener Paul Stirling in an effort which saw Ireland heading towards a potential at the midway point.

A well balanced 84 by Ed Joyce anchored the Irish towards a convincing victory.

Middle order batsmen Niall Anderson smashed the ball to all areas of Nelson’s Saxton Oval, ending on an beaten 74.

The West Indies have been poor right through their CWC buildup, and their opening performance in the tournament proper wasn’t any better.

Ireland beat one more big time cricketing outfit and are surely now one step closer to being serious contenders to a top tier cricketing nation.

CWC 15: Blackcaps down Sri Lanka in opener

The Blackcaps have started their much talked about CWC campaign with a win against Sri Lanka in Christchurch.

All batsmen for the Blackcaps put in respectable efforts and solid totals with the bat but none managed to go on to reach the three figure mark during the process of building a mammoth total.

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Brendon McCullum and Martin Guptill got the Blackcaps off to a rocketing start in bowler-friendly conditions.

McCullum smashed three boundaries in as many balls to open his CWC account.

Guptill looked solid, settling himself into his work in usual cautious fashion.

McCullum raced to a half century and as the Blackcaps quickly reached 100 runs for no loss, Sri Lanka went to a familiar opponent for New Zealand in the form of spinner Rangana Herath.

McCullum tried to hit Herath for six down the ground but just held out on the boundary to Jeevan Mendis, departing for a quick fire 65.

Guptill hung around for a while longer before edging to Sangakarra on 49.

Kane Williamson looked nervous and out of shape at the crease for the early part of his innings.

But once Williamson found the fence a couple of times, fortunes quickly changed and suddenly Williamson got the run rate up again and powered past 50 runs.

All batsmen put in healthy contributions apart from Ross Taylor.

Grant Elliot chipped in with 29 and Luke Ronchi finished on 29.

Corey Anderson was the story for the Blackcaps though, batting the side out of a potentially disappointing sub par score situation after all the work at the top of the innings.

Once Anderson neared 50, the middle order power hitter put the foot down in the last period of the innings to bat the Blackcaps past 300, ending with 75 before going out on the last ball of the innings.

The Blackcaps finished on a commanding 331 at Hagley Oval.

Sri Lanka batted aggressively in the reply as Lahiru Thirimanne and Tillakaratne Dilshan put on 67 for the first wicket before Daniel Vettori fooled Dilshan in the air for an easy caught and bowled.

Thirimanne battled on, reaching his half century as the partnership with Kumar Sangakarra built.

As the halfway point in the run chase neared, Sri Lanka looked more and more composed, and really looked capable of mounting a series challenge on the target.

But suddenly Trent Boult broke the shackles with a yorker to Thirimanne, sending the wickets out of the ground and breaking the threatening partnership.

Sri Lanka’s champion pairing of Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakarra were now at the crease together with a further 200 runs required.

Vettori struck again quickly, nicking Jayawardene through to Ronchi for a duck.

This firmly put the Blackcaps on top.

Sri Lankan hearts were broken when Trent Boult delivered another terrific yorker, trapping Sangakarra in front to be given out LBW as replays showed the bat hadn’t made contact with the ball.

Adam Milne took a further two wickets as Sri Lanka capitulated under the growing pressure of the run rate.

Sri Lankan captain Angelo Mathews batted defiantly as the match drew further and further out of reach, putting together a solid 46 before losing his wicket to the bowling of Tim Southee.

Corey Anderson had the final say, getting Herath out, to hand the Blackcaps a comprehensive victory by 98 runs at Hagley Oval.

CWC 2015: All in readiness

On the eve of the Cricket World Cup, a nation waits with patience and expectation.

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Form is on the Blackcaps side heading into tomorrow’s CWC opener in Christchurch, but with that said, the results so far this summer mean absolutely nothing either.

The Blackcaps are seen as one of the potential World Cup winners this year, something that hasn’t been said all that often in past tournaments with as much conviction.

Last night, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said “go well boys go well” passionately during the opening ceremony.

New Zealand as a country are behind the Blackcaps.

On form, good performances with both bat and ball have been more consistent than ever. New Zealand opener Martin Guptill has been improving innings after innings, and the form of Kane Williamson who bats at the crucial number three role is in career best.

Brendon McCullum and Ross Taylor will both deliver with the bat, and the middle order is suited nicely with Corey Anderson and Luke Ronchi, both of whom batted well in the recent series prior to the CWC.

Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Adam Milne, Mitchell Mcclenaghan, and to a lesser extent Kyle Mills are all in form with the ball and can deliver wickets against any team.

Quite simply, this is a Blackcaps side that comes into the CWC in red hot form – capable of capturing the trophy.

Sri Lanka are a tough one first up. The side has been in New Zealand for the better part of a couple of months, and despite losing the recent series, signs were there that Sri Lanka may be the sub continent side that is most capable of performing well in foreign conditions.

Sri Lanka possess four main threats with the bat in the form of Dilshan, Jayawardene, Sangakarra, and Matthews.

There is also a deadly option with the ball in the form of Lasith Malinga.

The tagline is “greatness is contagious”, but the question remains of if the Blackcaps will be able to deliver that greatness right throughout cricket’s showcase tournament.

Malinga could destroy Blackcaps in cup opener

Brendon McCullum and his men will face one of their biggest CWC challenges immediately as Sri Lanka confirm the return of deadly bowler Lasith Malinga.

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Arguably, Malinga is one of the hardest bowlers for batsmen to play against in world cricket.

At the death and the top of the innings, Malinga is almost impossible to build a decent run rate against and in this forms what will be one of the biggest challenges that the Blackcaps batsmen will face throughout the Cricket World Cup.

Malinga could be the bowler that ruins the party surrounding the World Cup by ripping through the Blackcaps batsmen in game one.

The threat will be present no matter where the Blackcaps are in their innings.

Blackcaps bowlers must take consistent wickets. For the batsmen, chasing a total over 300 will be tough against a side that possesses Lasith Malinga as part of their attack, even if the conditions are perfect for batting.

The Blackcaps showed good mental headspace with the bat during the recent series against Sri Lanka and Pakistan, but the question of how they will approach a bowler like Malinga is difficult to answer.

A batsmen like Martin Guptill and his frequent indecision early on at the crease is perfect for Malinga.

Sri Lanka would be encouraged to use him at the beginning of an innings, not just at the depth.

The Blackcaps batsmen have to bat without fear, take risks, and back themselves to find gaps in the field because Lasith Malinga has the potential to rip his way through the batting lineup at a moments notice.

Players who were unlucky to miss Blackcaps CWC selection

With the World Cup looming large on the horizon, let’s take a look at some of the other potential Blackcaps selections that were unlucky to miss out and those who could still play at the tournament.

Matt Henry

In the eyes of nearly everybody, Matt Henry’s non World Cup selection was the biggest surprise.

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21 wickets in 8 matches, an average of 15, with an economy of just under 5 are bowling statistics that would warrant a selection in most cricket sides but Henry was outed presumably in favour of Adam Milne who is known for his speed with the ball in hand, and Kyle Mills who will be one of the most experienced heads in New Zealand’s squad for the World Cup.

Matt Henry has played on a couple of occasions during the ODI series against Sri Lanka and is poised to be the first call in if injuries hit the Blackcaps bowling stocks.

Jesse Ryder 

It was a case that had been pre determined, but the reason why Jesse Ryder chose to opt himself out of World Cup availability may not be down to personal issues as he first stated, but perhaps a niggling back injury which had become quite serious after an incident in the gym.

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Ryder shortly after pulled out of his commitments to BBL team the Melbourne Renegades but is currently back on the field playing for the Otago Volts in the Ford Trophy.

Ryder averages 33 in ODI cricket for the Blackcaps with an impressive strike rate of 95. Also, interesting point of note, Ryder averages a higher than ODI standard of 40 in Test Cricket and would have been the perfect replacement should Martin Guptill pick up an injury sometime over the summer.

Sadly though, Ryder brings just too much baggage to the game.

Anton Devcich

Some may say that Anton Devcich was unlucky to miss out on a place in the World Cup squad, but was outed most probably due to his lack of experience at international level more than anything else.

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Anton Devcich opened for the Blackcaps during the recent series against Pakistan in the UAE and proved to be a viable option at the top of the order, but his low average of just under 20 after a few decent goes with the bat may have been a factor in his selection being denied.

Plus with Brendon McCullum moving to the top of the order and other opening options such as Kane Williamson and Tom Latham available to fill that void, perhaps a better average when given a shot at the top level would have further pushed Devcich’s World Cup likelihood.

Dean Brownlie 

Dean Brownlie is the typical mid order batsmen that many would have had in mind, but his stats suggest that his failure to make the Blackcaps World Cup squad isn’t as surprising as you’d think.

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Granted Brownlie has only played 10 internationals, but a total of 203 runs in 9 turns at the crease isn’t the worst reading ever but it certainly isn’t the best either. Like many batsmen who play ODI cricket for the Blackcaps, their form in the shorter version of the game just isn’t as impressive as in Test Cricket, especially early in their careers, but the likes of Kane Williamson have proved that it takes a lot longer than 10 matches in one form of the game to find consistency in runs.

Like the case is with Matt Henry, the outed Dean Brownlie could well be one of the first to bring into the Blackcaps middle order if any of the batsmen were to suffer injury.

James Neesham 

The stats point in favour of the decision, but James Neesham looked to be a certainty for the Blackcaps World Cup effort prior to the official squad announcement.

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His results on the field pail in comparison to Grant Elliot who replaced him, but in terms of consistent selection, James Neesham was a regular in the Blackcaps throughout 2014 and appeared to be performing well, especially with the ball. 18 wickets in 16 matches, but the real issue for Neesham was with the bat.

Just 146 runs in 13 bats at the crease, including an experiment at the top of the order which was an utter failure.

Like with Brownlie, the performance of James Neesham with the bat was far better in test cricket than it ever was in the shorter form of the game.

Feared Blackcaps vulnerability shows itself

The Blackcaps were rolled by Sri Lanka in a shocker this afternoon, but despite what happened in Hamilton today cricket fans need to keep a few things in mind.

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Brendon McCullum continued his amazing run of form with the bat, smashing 117 and in the process set the Blackcaps up for a mammoth score in perfect batting conditions at Hamilton’s Seddon Park.

But as many have feared, the vulnerability of the Blackcaps middle order showed itself as the rest of the batsmen around McCullum came and went as soon as most fans could blink an eye.

A dull and boring 34 by the returning Ross Taylor was the only other shot a Blackcaps batsmen fired.

Taylor’s style is to get out of the blocks slow, feel the ball on the bat a bit, and then go hard late in his innings but one can’t help but feel that come World Cup time more aggression may need to be shown, especially if the Blackcaps find themselves with the platform already set and Taylor still at the crease as was the case today.

The rest of the side simply collapsed at Seddon Park where conditions were absolutely perfect for batting.

Four run-outs, three of which occurred in the space of ten balls, and a stumping made for some of the worst reading this Blackcaps ODI batting squad has put to press in several months.

A big surprise today saw Daniel Vettori batting at number five.

Surely Craig McMillan as batting coach placed Vettori there for no other reason than to give the spinner time at the crease, something Vettori has seen very little of in any cricket recently. But it didn’t work, Vettori luckily escaped an LBW decision that looked out in replays only to be run out on moments later.

Vettori and five doesn’t work. It won’t happen again.

Dangerous batsman and one of the best in the team form wise Luke Ronchi was run out without even facing a ball.

Martin Guptill also failed to get a decent score today.

After stroking two good shots to the boundary and showing some good positive intent, he held out in the field trying to hit the ball over the fielder riding the inner circle. Good intent but a soft dismissal and Guptill now heads into the next game under more pressure.

Tom Latham just pushed the ball around for a few singles before getting out, his first go at the crucial number three position failed today.

Perhaps it is worth giving him another go in that position as Williamson is still out for a couple more games.

The Blackcaps collapsing like they did and in the fashion that they did today made a real mockery of Brendon McCullum’s innings, and as the captain of the side, he more than anyone should be feeling quite disappointed this evening.

Matt Henry also bowled, out of the World Cup squad but still proving himself again but this time not only by taking wickets with the ball but also pitching in some runs with terrific stroke play using the bat.

It was a shocker today, but you’d rather it happened now than in the World Cup next month.