New Zealand cricket


Full length version of the Iain O’Brien interview, as featured on Test Match Sofa:

OK, so the ‘interview’ we did with Graeme Smith was spoofed. This one, however, is completely, 100% genuine.

Iain O’Brien, former New Zealand fast bowler, has retired from the international game to move to the UK, build a life with his English wife, and play for Middlesex. The Village Cricketer had the great pleasure of interviewing Iain – interrupting him cooking some wholesome vegetable soup – for the first of Test Match Sofa’s new series of podcasts, which will be available tomorrow.

Subjects covered included his reasons for leaving NZ, the rising stars of NZ cricket, how the NZ side is shaping up, prospects for Middlesex, the fear of batting against quick bowling, the fear of bowling against Sehwag, bantering with Ricky Ponting and how international sportsmen will increasingly use new media to get closer to the common man.

So, please download the Test Match Sofa podcast, which includes a five minute version of the interview and a whole host of other witty banter and cricket chat.

To listen to the full 20 minute interview, use the following link:

So the Canaries have finally found a team they may enjoy an even contest with, well even-ish, provided the Kiwis don’t play too well.

But that isn’t what this post is about. I’ve just heard something on the Channel Nine (relayed via Sky) commentary that suggested to me that Richie Benaud is either even more of a complete cricketing genius than I thought possible for even him, or that dear old Rich might be suffering from some Mark Nicholas-esque Dave Warner induced hyperbole (please note that this word is not pronounced hyper-bowl, for the benefit of Wrencharoo).

Anyhow, Tubby Taylor, Gilly Gilchrist and Richie Richie were discussing which of the part-time bowlers Ponting could call on to fill the fifth bowler slot. Michael Clarke and both Hussey brothers were suggested, before Taylor said that Warner might be worth a go.

Richie muses somthing along the lines of: “Yes, I’ve seen a photograph of him bowling leg spin. Looked like he might have a nice action too.”

Is it possible to make a sound judgement of a bowling action from one still frame, or is Richie getting rather too excited by the Aussie’s great white hope?

Oh, and the Kiwis are 3/63 chasing 182. Grant Elliot, he of the falling over Sideshow Bob fame, has just blocked six in a row from the Pup, he of boning the “where the bloody hell are you?” tasty Aussie model fame.

Great match today, but a real shame the Kiwis won. There was a great deal of fuss about the run-out of Grant Elliott, who collided with Sidebottom going for a quick single. You can read about that on Cricinfo.

The Kiwis got all self-righteous, jumping up and down about the “spirit of cricket”, and kicking up a real stink. Daniel Vettori was apologetic about his team’s behaviour, after Collingwood said he may have made a mistake not calling Elliott back. I’m not sure Vettori would have been diplomatic had his side lost.

What got me though, was that it was not long ago that the Kiwis were completely unapologetic when Brendon McCullum ran out Muralitharan when he left his ground to congratulate Kumar Sangakkara on making a hundred. On that occasion Kiwi captain Stephen Fleming said he was happy with McCullum’s actions. It is somewhat hypocritical for them to kick up so much fuss about today’s happenings.

Seems like one-way-streets exist on both sides of the Tasman Sea.

The offending event:

Strewth! Having spent the best part of three days preparing to eat humble pie after labelling the Kiwi’s a one-man-band, England manage to engineer a reversal of fortunes to rival its own calamitous dash to defeat in Adelaide last December.

You have to hand it to the Kiwis though. Written off by pretty much everyone, they have managed to scrap well enough in the two tests so far to put themselves in decent positions, and have played some wonderful attacking cricket. Experience told at Old Trafford though.

For those of us (let’s face it, pretty much all of us) who needs an introduction to the touring Kiwi crucket side, the Beige Brigade has commissioned a special report.

It feels like I’ve been watching the second leg of a Champions League game today – so soon has it come after the winter trip to the land of the long white cloud. I like the Kiwis, but they will be pushing the proverbial up a hill as this Kiwi side that has even less class about it than the last time. New Zealand and Brendon McCullum are about as close to a one man international side as it gets, and if the Kiwis are going to have chance of winning any Tests in England this summer they’ll need Oram, Vettori and Martin to be on absolute top form to make up for the rest. I hope someone surprises me, or it’ll be a very one sided series.

England need to find top form against the Kiwis and gain maximum confidence by dishing out a drubbing before going into the series against the Saffas. That’ll be a far stiffer challenge.

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