Paul Ford is the co-founder of Beige Brigade.

Middle & Leg: Rejection, abuse and Bankhouse

Greg Olliver's magnificent Bankhouse property includes a cricket oval and a cricket pavilion.
Greg Olliver's magnificent Bankhouse property includes a cricket oval and a cricket pavilion.


With a swish of the Wonky Donkey Luke Ronchi's bat and Hamish Bennett clattering onto the Basin turf, it felt like the New Zealand cricket season had come to an end at the one-sided inter-island match on Sunday evening.

The reality is that there's a dozen first-class matches to come in March, and the Black Caps will be in Mumbai, Nagpur, Dharamsala, Mohali and Kolkata at the World T20 event.

Presumably Kiwi fans - creepy flag wavers aside - will be few and far between as the ticketing process for the tournament has been an utter shambles. Some tickets were only released last week, about a fortnight before the games. If you were contemplating travelling the 12,000 kilometres to watch Kane steady the ship it seems only reasonable to expect some more certainty before now.

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And speaking of Kiwi fans, surely David Warner was having a laugh when he hit the whinge button about the rudeness of our crowds. Hypocrisy to die for, or a wind-up that many have taken far too seriously? Or a bloke disappointed not to have scored a 50 in a Test series for the first time in his career, looking to run some interference to divert scrutiny?

The reality is that if your significant other has been involved in a 'toilet tryst' with an All Black and has a list of ex-boyfriends that reads like the Sports Hall of Fame (Braith Anasta - league; Matt Henjak - rugby; Matt Poole - surf lifesaving; Brent Staker - AFL; Anderson Luis de Abreu Oliveira - football; David Carney - football; Marcos Baghdatis - tennis) then it is going to be hard for punters to forget that when you're fielding on the boundary and have a reputation for being brash and punchy.

For the record, the most abusive thing we saw all series was at the Basin Reserve. Warner was heckled by a man on the third man fence for a couple of overs. Sort of heckled. And sort of interviewed. At 100 decibels, the man was demanding to know if Mitchell Marsh had ever got him out in the nets. "I bet he hasn't Davey 'cos he's useless isn't he? Useless, you know it..." It was an Australian fan.

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Yorkshire author and raconteur Joe Root writes about facing the Australians in The Ashes, after New Zealand had been and gone in its entrée role of a frustrating 2-Test series. "My first delivery, swung back into me by Mitchell Starc, was right on the money at 90 mph and struck me on the front pad as I jabbed down. 'Jeez,' I thought...From point, among a chain of expletives, David Warner shouted: 'You're not facing Trent Boult's eighty-mile-an-hour-half volleys now, mate."

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If you haven't seen property developer and cricket tragic Greg Olliver's magnificent Bankhouse property in the Waihopai Valley in Marlborough, you need to: 57 hectares, a cricket oval and a cricket pavilion await your click. To be sold by tender closing on March 18 - it is fair to say Beige Brigade HQ would rather see this gem crowdfunded than any old beach...

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Congratulations to Sam Collins and Jarrod Kimber for winning the Television Sports Documentary of the Year for Death of a Gentleman, a fascinating 96-minute investigation into the way the ICC Ticks. Their words after winning: "In one sense, we wish we had never had to make this film in the first place, that cricket had better governance and the issues had been more widely reported. But it didn't and they weren't, and now that change finally appears to be in the air, we hope that DOAG has played a small part in getting people talking. Now we need to make sure that this change is tangible and lasting, because a great game deserves the chance to thrive." There's some nice back story from The Old Batsman here too.

Not cricket but Catch Me If You Can - the BBC's investigation into athletics doping - and One Day in May about the harrowing Bradford City FC fire in 1985 were highly commended, and well worth hunting out with your cyberfingers.

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Amazing. A remix by a Pakistan Super League fan. The Jav goes all Lawrence of Arabia on us.


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READ

Like every other cricket writer on the planet, I wrote a thing about Brendon McCullum. "He loves a beer. Or three. He is not the type of bloke you would expect to be popping the corks on a Dom Perignon and mowing into a super bowl of caviar. You get the feeling it'd suit him best if there was a telly with the Wingatui horse races on, somewhere close to that trio of beers too." You should read Richard Irvine's words, and Dylan Cleaver's too. But you don't need to read VVS Laxman's.

LISTEN:
The BYC Podcast is talking bodyline, Daniel Flynn. Nathan McCullum's groin, Finnish indoor cricket, players named after their bats, beer pong and the Marlborough meteor Gary Bartlett. Violence Corner is in Sri Lanka.

READ:
Mike Selvey goes behind the scenes with the Melbourne Renegades in the Big Bash, where his mate David Saker is head coach. It's a million-word piece roughly: "Clearly, something significant was happening in Australia, and I wanted to understand what it was that was bringing people in their thousands to games there, filling grounds with record crowds, or turning on their televisions by the million."

READ:
Nick Hoult on cricket in Rwanda. Includes the best photo of net practice on a suspension bridge I have ever seen. "Cricket was barely played in Rwanda before 1994. Haba started it up with seven friends; now there are 7,000 players nationwide...the sport is helping to balm wounds in a country where victims and perpetrators live side by side, and even play in the same teams."

WATCH:
Mark Richardson run Brendon McCullum out on his international debut in 2001 - and say sorry 15 years later.

15 long years ago Mark welcomed Brendon McCullum to international cricket, it didn't end well . Now we finally hear the word sorry ... Eventually

Posted by The Crowd Goes Wild on Thursday, 25 February 2016

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 beigehq@beigebrigade.co.nz.

- NZ Herald

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