David Leggat on sport

David Leggat is a Herald sport writer

David Leggat: Selectors resist wish to tinker

1 comment
Corey Anderson. Photo / Chris Callinan
Corey Anderson. Photo / Chris Callinan

England in May, Bangladesh in October. Different conditions, different challenges, a point of which New Zealand's cricketers are about to be reminded.

Save the two injured players from the England test series, Martin Guptill and Tim Southee, all those on that trip three months ago get a boarding pass to Dhaka. This is a far cry from the old days when selectors, fickle by nature and wont to tinker at the drop of a single-figure score, would roll the changes with alacrity.

Change came in the 1980s and with it considerable success. Even so, some of that team who went unbeaten at home in tests through the decade still remember chief selector Frank Cameron making it plain after one grim defeat to Australia that those who were getting a bit cosy might find themselves distinctly uncosy in the near future.

It brings to mind the story of Sir Alf Ramsey managing England to the country's only World Cup victory in 1966. His goalkeeper, Gordon Banks, was then ranked the finest in the game.

After one international, having packed his bag and headed for the door, Banks turned and bid his manager a cheery "I'll be seeing you Alf". To which Ramsey stared back and replied: "Will you?" Banks never forgot the point.

For all that Bangladesh may not be a tour to spin the casual followers' wheels, there are two things to note.

The last time New Zealand played there three years ago, they were dusted 4-0 in the ODI series. That alone, combined with Bangladesh putting up a decent challenge on the last test tour five years ago, should ensure minds are focused.

The other point of interest came with the naming of Ish Sodhi, in particular, and Corey Anderson in the tour group. Depending on the conditions, neither may play in the tests. If two spinners are thought enough, it might be that Bruce Martin - whom coach Mike Hesson yesterday labelled the team's premier spinner - and Kane Williamson's handy off spin are deemed sufficient.

But it's an exciting selection. Few spinners have made their mark since Dan Vettori marked out his runup for the first time at the Basin Reserve in 1997, having just blown out 18 birthday candles. Dipak Patel, Paul Wiseman, Brooke Walker, Jeetan Patel, Todd Astle and Martin played during Vettori's time with varying success.

Sodhi is warmly rated by those who've seen him regularly. Twenty is young for a spinner. Australia discovered with Ashton Agar, 19, during the Ashes series that he's got plenty to work on. But if anyone can recognise high talent at a tender age it should be Vettori.

Anderson, an aggressive batsman and useful seamer, seems to have been around an age. Six seasons of first-class cricket are already in those sturdy 22-year-old shoulders.

Injuries have occasionally derailed him. If he's over them, and the promise he showed in his mid-teens is ready to flower, in his own way Anderson could prove to be just as interesting a selection as Sodhi.

- NZ Herald

Have your say

We aim to have healthy debate. But we won't publish comments that abuse others. View commenting guidelines.

1200 characters left

Sort by
  • Oldest

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf05 at 22 Nov 2014 15:40:05 Processing Time: 461ms