Stoked for our trio of Kiwi cricketers celebrated by the super-posh Wisden Almanac for their impact and influence on the English cricket season - Williamson, Stokes and McCullum. Pretty extraordinary, and unlikely to ever be repeated, especially when you factor in Suzie Bates winning the top women's award.

One question though: why didn't #SteadyTheShip make the cover? This pipsqueak pic of him with a giant Daniel Vettori would've been perfect.

The Almanac is a fantastic tome, the Bible of cricket, and the longest-running sports annual ever, having been founded in 1864. It is as quaint and eccentric as the people who shell out fifty quid to buy it - and speaking of quaint and eccentric the good people of the NZ Cricket Museum have dug out the Kiwi roll of honour , Wisden style.

Our inaugural entrant back in the Almanac's 64th year was Roger Blunt (overlooking the fact he was born in Durham), the star of the New Zealand team's first major overseas tour to England in 1927 - where we were deemed too crap to play Test matches. A lolly-selling, batting leg-spinner, and Burnside CC legend, Blunt was described as "a left-field pick".


When the Wisden lands, I find it impossible to resist the Index of Unusual Occurrences - with tales of everything from the monopods vs monobracchs cricket match, to last year's inclusion of Sharafuddin Ashraf being given out for obstructing the field by "bellowing", as the non-striker putting off the catcher (successfully).


I was disappointed with myself for being lured into voting into this attention-seeking poll over the ditch, selecting the greatest ODI team of all time. And my self-loathing was followed by heartbreak when I voted for our own orchid-loving knight of Palliser Bay: and he only had 22 per cent of the vote in his tête-à-tête with The Lion of Lahore, Imran Khan. It follows on from Daniel Vettori being knocked out by Kapil Dev last week too (63-37). Only Shane Bond and Brendon McCullum remain...


Weird news of Franklyn Rose being deported from Mt Eden Prison emerged this week - sounds like a sad tale. I remember enjoying watching Rose when he toured here in 1999 - 3/244 at the bowling crease, and 17 runs in four innings with the bat - I don't think he enjoyed playing in front of us much. He was pretty cranky and had a decent death stare.

Last time we'd heard of Rose was back in 2012 when he was "set upon" , not far from a Beige Brigade henchman's house in Takapuna. A witness said: "The big guy had blood pouring from a cut to his hand but I didn't see anyone anywhere with a knife. Someone came out with a towel and wrapped it around the big guy's hand to stop the bleeding until the police and ambulance arrived. He had been punched in the face and was spitting blood."


Buckle up for the Sachin: A Billion Dreams film. It's not a musical extravaganza, but a biography starring Sachin himself: "Go chase your dreams because dreams do come true!" he tweeted like some sort of robo-tweeter. The film is directed by James Erskine who also made the brilliant From The Ashes documentary about Botham's Ashes, as well as The Battle of the Sexes about the tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, the ominous-sounding Step Kids in Love (um?) and Shooting For Socrates -an underdog tale about Northern Ireland playing Brazil in the 1986 Football World Cup.



Congratulations to the Submarine Cricket Club for being ridiculously awesome. As they put it: "...a bunch of good buggers from the Bay of Islands, New Zealand. We enjoy drinking cheap beer and playing cricket on the sand spit at Submarine Rock in the Bay of Islands once a year."

This year the opposition was the Scargill Shags , from Scargill near Waipara. Despite Scargill meaning "valley of ducks", the North Canterbury crew won the day.

Submarine CC skipper Derek Miller gave us the inside word: "The king tide wasn't the reason the pitch was so deep when we got there. The boat we chartered had to be used for the cruise ship that was in that day and the only time slot we could get put us out there two hours before the start of play. Bloody good times waiting though..."


A Sykes-made bat estimated to be worth AUD$30,000 used by piano player Don Bradman is up for auction in Australia. It is from 1930 when he carved his way to 232 in the fifth Test of the 1930 Ashes series, and is signed in full by members of the Australia and England teams - and "numbered on the toe No 9 in Bradman's hand" according to the catalogue description.

My favourite Bradman story is how he freaked out about turning right when he was driving, so always went around the block making a myriad of left-hand turns.

READ: Jarrod Kimber on the Pakistani superfreak, Shahid Afridi : "He bowled leg spin like a quick bowler, he batted like the world was about to end, he was often more what people think Pakistan cricket is than what Pakistan cricket actually is."

READ: Musician, alternative commentator and steam lover Matt Heath in the Herald on the Mrs Stokes imbroglio: "Ben will be fine. He's a great cricket player, a professional. Who cares what some dicks on a New Zealand radio station think? A parental attempt to right things ended up bringing additional global humiliation on her son."

LISTEN: This week's BYC podcast, The Tim Horse Bartlett Episode acknowledges NZ Test cricketer and artificial grass salesman Tim McIntosh, celebrates some unconventional cricket coaching methods in Marlborough, and giddy-up they're back on the horse meat wagon.

WATCH: Bullets by Theo Hayes, Isaac Hayes, Cloth The Band and the Compton Cricket Club - the first ever hip-hop world-beat cricket rap music video from 2008: "From the streets of concrete, to grass and mats...we playin' cricket..." It's amazing.

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