Mark Richardson: A mountain too high for some

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Once again the selectors have indicated they do not rate our domestic cricket as a strong enough standard of play for form alone to enable selection to international level.

Martin Guptill's selection shows they are looking for players they have a hunch will carry something more than runs and wickets in our provincial competition alone. They are looking for a player with an untried X-factor - a mental approach or technique suited to a better standard of cricket.

While I support Guptill's selection (because he does have something special that needs to be explored under international pressure) the initial non-selection of the currently red-hot Mathew Sinclair spoke volumes, as did his characteristic prod outside off stump to be dismissed yesterday.

Sinclair's current State form should have been irresistible. In five provincial one-day games, he has scored 331 runs at an average of 110 and at very near a run a ball.

In the four-day competition, he has been equally impressive with 516 runs at 103. However, it took a Jesse Ryder incident for Sinclair to get another go - an incident where Ryder thumbed his nose at New Zealand Cricket, his team-mates and, most importantly, the fans who pay money to watch him play live and on television and who ultimately put money in his pocket; the same money he spends at the bar to disrespect them.

Sinclair is not alone when it comes to former players tried and discarded and whose re-selection looks tremendously unlikely, regardless of the figures they post. Matthew Bell's 346 runs at 86 early in the season screamed for a recall which did not come; nor did one come for Craig Cumming who has been in top form this year too - averaging above 50 in the championship and shield. Rather, Jamie How kept his place in the hope he would come right.

In the past, there was Chris Harris. 'Harry' in the first-class game scored 7229 runs at an average of 45 and yet, with ample opportunity, only managed a disappointing 777 at 20 in test cricket.

It's just the way it is here, the jump from domestic to international level is a mountain too high for some successful players to climb. For a selector, discussion revolves around potential rather than fact.

It's not ideal but less ideal is when a player like Sinclair or Cumming is in the top side and loses form. You can't simply tell them to go back to their province and score some runs because that is exactly what Sinclair, Bell, Cumming and Harris have done for years.

Australia have a marvellous history of picking young players who fail initially, get dropped but return better players ... we unfortunately do not. I cannot think of a player, a batsman in particular, over the last number of years who has lost his place in the Black Caps and returned a better player.

- Herald on Sunday

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