It was interesting to see the big name Hurricanes stood down for breaching their curfew in Durban this week. On the wireless this week Jimmy Neesham provided a reminder that it couldn't have happened to players in the NZ cricket team - not because they're saints, but because the current Black Caps regime doesn't operate a curfew policy. Treat them like adults, let team culture curb behaviour and set expectations, trust the players to make good decisions, and watch what happens. (Praying is optional.)

It hasn't always been the case - in 2009 Neil Broom and Aaron Redmond broke a Black Caps' team curfew with generosity and naïveté. They went out for a few drinks in Chennai and inadvertently started a riot when they made a "poor decision to hand out money to people living in the street, whereupon a crowd developed..."

I bet Jimmy wished that 2009-era curfew was around back in January 2014, when he had the lucky task of helping a hammered Jesse Ryder into a taxi outside the 1885 bar in Britomart - and starred on 3 News for taking on that almost impossible mission.



Will miss the iconic, dulcet tones of cricket commentator and passionate West Indian Tony Cozier - or as Virender Sehwag described him: "champagne on air". Cozier had an unforgettable set of vocal chords, and an irrepressible passion for cricket. He was the first white West Indian I ever heard who had that unforgettable, mellifluous, lilting Barbadian accent.

He was no Captain Obvious, never a shill, and he was never there to be the centre of attention. The game was the thing for him. Mike Coward put it perfectly, when he named Cozier his favourite commentator a couple of years back: "...the most self-effacing of men, has always brought a rare breadth and worldliness to his commentary. A native of Barbados...his background as a journalist and editor has provided him with an authoritative voice not only on cricket but on the game's personalities and politics, and on West Indian politics and current affairs."


Fair play to Rwandan cricket captain Eric Dusingizimana who is aiming to break the Guinness World Record for the "longest time spent batting in a cricket net", zeroing in on a sanity-sapping 51-hour net session at the Amahoro Indoor Stadium in Remera (not Remuera). Former British PM Tony Blair threw one day early on in the record attempt, which is all about fundraising for better facilities.

Contrary to popular belief the record is not held by former Auckland coach Mark O'Donnell (thrower) and Mark Richardson (batsman) despite some excruciatingly long net sessions at the Eden Park Outer Oval in the early noughties. Instead it is held by Indian Virag Male who batted for 50 hours, 5 minutes and 51 seconds and faced 14,682 deliveries when he set the record in January this year.

In case you're wondering how the physics and biology of it all works, record attempters are allowed a 5-minute break every hour.


I spotted that Elisabeth Easther mentioned Governor cricket bats this week and I'm not going to lie, I had never heard of them. They're crafted in delectable Governors Bay, Banks Peninsula by a bloke called Graham Sercombe who has been carving up English willow from Great Leighs in Essex for more than two decades, and produced more than 300 bats.

Te Awamutu's Brent Arnel, the former Waikato Titans basketballer, is the only Test cricketer to wield a Governor in anger in a Test match.


"For our practical instructions on Bowling, Batting, and Fielding, the first players of the day have been consulted, each on the point in which he respectively excelled..." Amazing from The Cricket Field by vicar James Pycroft. It was one of the first cricket books ever published in 1851 and is devoted to "the history and science of our National Game".

It's available to download for free via Project Gutenberg.


If you were offended by Danny Morrison dressing up in a beard and a turban for the IPL pre-match commentary this week, take a long hard look at yourself. I reckon you're channelling the wrong emotion: perhaps you're exhausted your supply of embarrassment?

Morrison is the IPL's court jester, hamming it up as the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world for OTT cricket commentary. And in the IPl they bloody love it - good on him. Of course it drives me to distraction - and mute - at times, but I just can't get offended by anything that he does.

The 'backlash' to Morrison's Mohali madness on Monday appeared to be driven some wafer-skinned critics on Twitter, and probably Susan Devoy. Raise an eyebrow, but don't choose to be offended.


READ: Suresh Menon on whether international cricket coaches are redundant: ""Great teams don't need coaches, terrible teams can do little with one."

LISTEN: In this week's Beige Brigade podcast, The Uber BJ Davo Episode gently examines the life and times of Bradley-John Watling (Durban, Tokoroa, Hamilton): is he NZ's best ever wicketkeeper-batsman?

READ: The Deceivers in which allegations that former English tweaker Phil Edmonds and his business partner took spin into the business world: "Edmonds and Groves' scams worked because no one was watching: regulators didn't scrutinise, lawyers didn't probe, accountants didn't ask. Gaping holes in the financial system let them hide their bribes and deceptions in plain sight..."

WATCH: Gold from Danny Morrison here, as he unleashes a total balls-up of a delivery, then darts across to snaffle it before the opportunistic Australian batsman can spank it away. All made more glorious by the fact that the batsman in question is Mad Mo Matthews, one of the most hateable Australians of the early 1990s (with an eye-popping test batting average of 41.)

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