New Zealand Woes
The fact it is a very short ODI Series between England and New Zealand may
feel like a blessing to those from the antipodes. The first two games in the
series have been wins by margins that the visitors must feel is frankly
embarrassing. I won't quote the numbers - the Kiwis will not wish to be
But why is this happening? The New Zealanders have always had a fine
reputation - in fact if you check the history, the first two games of this
series have only just seen England catch up with the Kiwis in match wins,
namely 33 each. England can expect to now take the lead.
Let me suggest a few facts in mitigation. Firstly the support for the
England team, while not reflected in the lower echelons of England cricket,
have been increased markedly in recent times. There are now many (some say
18) players who can consider themselves full time cricketers with no need to
find a supporting job, full or part time. The same can, quite definitely,
not be said of New Zealand. They have (as best I can surmise) just 3. Thus
the lion's share of the team must concentrate much of their effort on work
which likely bears no relationship to the cricket field. Time and effort
can, therefore, not be spent on training and practice as often as the
players might like...
Let me at 0nce spring to the defence of 'New Zealand Cricket'. They simply
don't have the ECB's reserves to draw on. Smaller crowds and a tinier
population in islands with approximately the same land area as the UK makes
it a fine place to live, but not a large population to draw on. Did you know
of instance that its population is only about 1/15th of that of the UK?
Think of it in those terms and you might start thinking how on earth do they
produce the cricket and rugby teams they do?
But this fits into a bigger picture that isn't that healthy either. Those
who have supported cricket for quite a while have cherished hopes that a
number of competitive teams might appear around the world. Sadly it
wouldn't be too difficult to take a guess which four countries of the
competitors will make it to the top of any table in the World T20 in West
There are many nations playing cricket these days. The standard of most are
such that they'd struggle against some club sides in this country (UK). This
is in many cases because they have very few players. The dedication of those
they do have is often of a quality England players should envy. I came
across an article recently of girls who, to play, had to take a bus at
2a.m., cross an international border, and possibly wash their kit in the
local river to ensure they are as presentable as possible. There have been
times I think we, in the highly developed world, don't know we're born!
So while England success is great for an England supporter it is currently a
two-edged sword. We have, well none actually, who can give the top few
countries a competitive game. The same teams appear time and again. I'm glad
to see them but can we please have a bit more variety? Since the least
fortunate have little money there seems to me only cash from the larger
nations, or from the ICC can hope to solve the problem.
My fear is that women's cricket will soon start to contract if more
competitive teams can't be found around the world. The playing field is not
flat, and the slopes need to be drastically ironed out if this sport has any
The final game in this series is now history, and you might think the result
(NZ win by 5 wkts) negates much of what I've typed above. I would contend it
does not. The superb innings by Sophie Devive shows she is a player of real
class, but one swallow as they say... The White Ferns actually have
two swallows and two fledglings (at least in the sense they may make the top
rank) but that is a pitiful number of full time players. It is precisely
because England have so many full time cricketers that they have created the
strength in depth that more often, although not on this occasion, gets them
to the winning post.
Sophie Devine Takes on England during the ODI
It's high time the ICC stepped in and sorted this out!