Kerre McIvor

Kerre McIvor is a Herald on Sunday columnist

Kerre Woodham: Cricket's now a bore

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Maybe it's time we, as a country, found a new summer sport to support.

One that we're actually good at and one in which we can field a decent representative team.

Because cricket's not really working for us, is it? And it hasn't worked for us for quite some time.

It makes me sad, because I love the game - when it's played well. I grew up in a halcyon era when New Zealand had a dream team.

We had John Wright and Bruce Edgar opening, Martin Crowe batting, Jeremy Coney as captain, Ian Smith generally up for a bit of lower-order fireworks before putting on the gloves and working his magic behind the wicket. There was a certain world-class bowler, Sir Richard Hadlee, and a tireless workhorse in Ewan Chatfield who could always be relied on at the death.

What was not to love about cricket?

And Stephen Fleming, Chris Cairns and Daniel Vettori, who came later, kept my interest in cricket alive.

But now I couldn't give a fat rat's bum about the New Zealand cricket team.

I was at work the other night and a news flash headline popped up on my computer. New Zealand suffers batting collapse, it read. How the hell is that news? I spluttered. Ross Taylor scores double century - now that would be news!

New Zealand beats Sri Lanka by an innings and 19 runs - that too would stop the presses. But the fact our batsmen have collapsed? There's nothing new or newsworthy about that.

It's awful to think that a generation of young New Zealanders has missed out on having a brilliant team to cheer on. I still watch good cricket - over the years, the Ashes series has provided me with some fantastic memories - but I'm not going to waste another minute of a summer's day watching the Black Caps.

I'd rather watch a New Zealand softball team or young tennis players - perhaps we should be putting our resources into those codes?

I know teams go through bad patches, even the great cricketing nations have years where they go through a rebuilding phase. But really, how long can we keep pretending that the Black Caps will come right?

In the past three years, the team has beaten Pakistan, Australia and Bangladesh once and Zimbabwe twice. Hardly the sort of record to inspire confidence.

Sod's law says that having written this, New Zealand will trounce South Africa and England in the upcoming test series and if that happens I'll be absolutely delighted - and shocked to my core.

Maybe we should spread our support among other codes and let the cricketers try to find some form without the white-hot glare of publicity focusing on their failures. Or maybe I'm just old and cranky and living in the past.

- Herald on Sunday

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