Paul Ford is the co-founder of Beige Brigade.

Middle & Leg: Shades, hypocrisy, beer & manscapes

Still absolutely fizzing at the bunghole after the New Zealanders retained the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy in the City of the Future on Monday night.

Reckon the holder should get to have their famous family's name first, so it is herewith renamed the Hadlee-Chappell Trophy, at least until next summer's contest.

At dinner that night at Seddon Park, only deranged cricketing optimists like myself believed we had a chance.

But this current manifestation of New Zealand is an awful team to play - like a hydra we lose blokes to injury and illness and the Black Cap beast regenerates with new faces like Henry Nicholls, Ish Sodhi, Mitchell Santner, Doug Bracewell being four cases in point.

The combination of umpiring mayhem, Australian effing and blinding, and the release of an arsenal of suburban fireworks near the ground created a cauldron of pressure and expectation that Steve Smith's men could not stop from boiling over.

And the spillage tasted oh so sweet.

We've earned a ton of respect over the past few years, especially on our own Waikare and Patumahoe soil.


Australians moaning about the viciousness of New Zealand crowds is the ultimate in hypocrisy. As David Leggat points out we can be absolute morons, but we rarely stoop to racial abuse or throwing things at players or onto the field. The whingers on this one are extracting the michael, surely?

On several Beige Brigade tours we've been warned by the authorities to 'be careful' with our vocal efforts inciting the crowd - things like chanting "small horse" at them or asking why they were heading home early. In Adelaide, after the Australians were Shane Bonded on Australia Day, we received a police escort out of the ground. After we made it out safely, we proceeded to hire a limousine to drive us from pub to pub and then back to our two-star backpacker accommodation.

Perhaps the Australian players could lead by example - abuse from the likes of Matthew Wade and The Big Show (pony) Glenn Maxwell is caught on film regularly. New Zealand supporters are unlikely to find it endearing, and are a good chance of returning it to sender.

But what to do about reducing our own moronism? I think we just need to get in more practice - yet another reason to dial down the DJ decibels in between overs.

Brutal, just so so brutal.
Brutal, just so so brutal.


Alongside a platoon of wonderful men - Jason, Jeremy, Lee, Leigh, Matt and Mike - I've been lucky enough to be traipsing around the nation all summer watching this magnificent Black Caps XI from the sweaty man soup of The Alternative Commentary Collective caravan.

Things went up a notch last weekend, when we were invited inside the inner sanctum to say a few words to the team and issue the ODI caps to the squad. This was a massively humbling experience, and another direct insight into the team culture that Mike Hesson, Brendon McCullum and Mike Sandle have established, along with the senior players. There's a staggering lack of egos - the famous 'no dickheads' policy is clearly in effect.


If you're not in Wellington for the Test match starting on Friday, you should be. And if you are, you should check out the 'joint venture' beer - The Underarm Apology - brewed up by Catfish out of Aussie and local mega-crafters Tuatara.

Beer nerds tell me it's a 6.5% New World IPA featuring all Kiwi and Aussie hops. According to the Catfish crew: "New Zealand and Australia share many things. A love of beer is one. A love of cricket is another. Something happened in our past that put a wedge between us and left a bitter taste in our good mates' mouths. Let's not linger anymore on who did what, when or where, it's time to move on...Please accept this, our Underarm Apology."

Find it at the Tuatara drinking hole, Third Eye , 30 Arthur Street, Te Aro (800m from the Basin).


LISTEN: Heath and Wells interview the two little battlers Brendon McCullum and Allan Border , listen out for when AB outs ginger-greytop fast bowling ninja (and massive zinc operator) Craig McDermott as an early adopter on the manscaping front.

WATCH: Jeff Thomson's speech at the recent Australian Cricket Awards is a throwback to a time when men freely talked about their downstairs operations in public. It's a ripper.

READ: An open letter to Rameez Raja, from a Bangladeshi journalist: "I know you are not a great fan of the Bangladesh cricket team. For years you have ridiculed Bangladeshi players knowingly or unknowingly. I don't want to go into the details. You are perhaps aware of your effigies being burnt in many parts of Bangladesh after your sarcastic comments over Bangladesh in general and Bangladesh cricket team in particular during the World Cup 2015." Crikey.

LISTEN: Convicted fraudster and disgraced cricket don Allen Stanford is six years into 110 years of imprisonment for one of the biggest financial frauds in American history. He hasn't given an interview since he has been inside - but speaks exclusively to the BBC. The 77-minute documentary also speaks to lawyers involved in the case - and other folks connected to the case including Harmy Harmison. Stanford is articulate, charming and deluded.

READ: Sonia Gray's poignant piece on the impossibility of being a happy Black Caps fan: "The Buddha and Eckhart Tolle and Fatboy Slim have been preaching it for years, but it took a part-time South African cricket commentator for me to really get it: Right here, right now, we are in a golden era for New Zealand Cricket."

WATCH: The Pakistan cricket team goes to India to play a Test series in 1999 - includes great crowd footage, great Sachin footage, great Javed footage, great dressing room footage and heaps of Wasim Akram. It's a gem.

Middle & Leg is a cricket newsletter for New Zealand cricket fans who like a dose of optimism and a tablespoon of take the piss with their weekly cricket informational. It is tapped out by Paul Ford, co-founder of the Beige Brigade, and one-seventh of The Alternative Commentary Collective . You can email him here

- NZ Herald

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