Mark Richardson is a former Black Cap and current columnist for the Herald on Sunday

Mark Richardson: Volts a team to be proud of

Brendan McCullum of the Volts. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Brendan McCullum of the Volts. Photo / Sarah Ivey

Ripped off. That's how I feel about the Otago Volts missing the semifinals of the Indian Champions League.

I know it's the 'Indian' Champions League and three Indian IPL teams in the finals will keep the politicians happy, but it feels wrong.

This Volts team are one of the finest T20 sides in world cricket, yet with one loss they tumble out of the tournament.

The Volts are a great little team to be proud of. They're a bit of a ragtag bunch of misfits. A bit like in my days there, except this Otago team wins. It's a shame they aren't Auckland and then we could call them the A-team. Brendon McCullum feels a bit like John 'Hannibal' Smith too. There are not many fashionable cricketers in this team yet they pull together well, but one loss in 15 games. It wasn't a bad loss either, and out they go. Okay, admittedly it was because of the brilliance of Mumbai's Dwayne Smith and Rohit Sharma - and the incompetence of Perth - but it hardly feels fair.

Rules are rules, though. Rain and no-results can affect a tournament adversely as in this case, but it's just a shame the Volts won't get their shot at that title and the many benefits accompanying it. Hopefully some individuals are rewarded by way of IPL deals, but there was more than that at stake.

This Otago team were doing some real good for New Zealand Cricket. They would have made a few of world cricket's power-barons take note with the way they cruised through qualifying and looked formidable in the real deal. However, one washout and the inevitable loss stopped them progressing to the game that earn the real prizes ... and I don't just mean great cash injections and free cars.

A finals appearance may have guaranteed the New Zealand entrant automatic qualification to the tournament proper in future, which is important to guarantee bigger pay days and more respect . I would have seen more benefit in Black Caps Brendon McCullum, Hamish Rutherford and Neil Wagner remaining in India than playing the warm-up games in Bangladesh before the tests. That is a big concession on my behalf, but a Champions League victory would have gained more than a test win against Bangladesh.

On this occasion it does not cut the mustard to say its 'only T20' because the real people of power in world cricket value their cash cow highly.

- NZ Herald

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Mark Richardson is a former Black Cap and current columnist for the Herald on Sunday

Mark Hunter Richardson represented New Zealand in 38 Tests from 2000-2004 racking up an impressive 2,776 runs with an average of 44.7. The former Black Cap began his cricketing career as a left-arm spinner but soon realised that his talents lay with the bat. The transition from ball to bat was seamless and Richardson soon made his international debut against Zimbabwe at the age of 29. Known as a stalwart opener, Richardson’s intelligent style of hard-grind batting came at the perfect time for New Zealand cricket and provided much-needed stability for the Black Caps. Apart from being an excellent opening batsman, Mark Richardson was well-known among fans and team mates for his humorous off-pitch antics and friendly interactions with the famous Beige Brigade, with whom he formed a strong relationship. An excellent cricketer with a personable quality, Richardson once remarked that his retiring first-class average was only different to that of Sir Donald Bradman by a decimal point. Mark Richardson retired from all forms of the game in 2004 and continues to write an insightful, thought-provoking column for the New Zealand Herald.

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