Mike Hesson and Gavin Larsen have worn all sorts of criticism this extended season and a lot of it justified, particularly around the test team where there appears to be a confusion over how they want to play and the personnel needed.

Some of the flak they're copping after going 1-2 down to a brilliant South African team, and it could so easily have been 2-1, is unfair.

There is no simple escape from the wicketkeeping quagmire. There are a number of solutions and none of them are satisfactory. That is the fault of the players, not the coach or selectors.

Luke Ronchi has the pedigree but has barely scratched a run together in that format for a long time. For two years, his batting has been dreadful at ODI level.


As an established opener, Tom Latham made sense as an expedient option. Ironically his keeping has been fine but the bottom has fallen out of his batting.

BJ Watling, for all his fighting qualities, is not a one-day batsman and his only value would be adding some starch to hopeless causes (actually, he would have come in handy in Wellington on Saturday).

That leaves a couple of young keeper-batsmen in Tom Blundell and Glenn Phillips (and I'd throw, not for any namesake reasons, D Cleaver into that mix as well) who have shown great promise at a domestic level but have faced nothing resembling this attack. They would be little more than sacrificial lambs at this point in their careers.

So in this case they're stuck between a rock, a concrete slab, sheet iron and a hard place.

Don't get me started on some of their other calls this past 12 months though.

Actually, you can get me started on one:

Is Colin Munro the new Lou Vincent/ Mathew Sinclair? A guy with outrageous if inconsistent talent whose face just doesn't fit the picture. True, he didn't cover himself in glory in the Hadlee-Chappell series but you look at the extended runs given to others out of form and compare it with how he's treated and it doesn't make much sense.

Sinclair once talked about how mentally draining it was walking to the crease knowing each innings could be your last and it really looked like Munro was ready to face the hangman as well.

You look at the way he bullies attacks at the next level down, including a pair of Plunket Shield centuries this week, and cannot tell me he doesn't have as much to offer as some of the "chosen" ones.


We should be ready to anoint the first female winner of the Sir Richard Hadlee medal, the award given to the best cricketer in the country for the 2016-17 season.

Without wanting to jinx the outcome, Amy Satterthwaite surely only needs a strong finish to the Rose Bowl series to lock up the medal. Ross Taylor or Kane Williamson would have to come home with a wet sail to against the Proteas to get close.

The Cantabrian's effort in scoring four ODI centuries in a row is unprecedented and the fourth of those, a match-winning effort against Australia in the first on Sunday, is as good an innings as possible in that situation.

In this year that New Zealand Cricket recognised it had dropped the ball with regards to women in cricket, and the year Debbie Hockley became the first female president of that organisation, it would be another bold step to welcome a female winner of the country's highest cricket honour.


If there is one thing the reaction to the peccadillos of Aaron Smith, Dan Carter and Ali Williams has shown us, it is we live in a world of double-standards and flat out hypocrisy.

In the weekend I had a visit from the constabulary. Purely social, of course. This upright member of society was appalled at the fact Smith had been tearfully exposed to the cameras for an offence against his girlfriend (and, if you draw a very long moral bow, wheelchair toilet users), while Carter got away with a bland Instagram post for an actual, you know, crime.

About the same time we were having that chat, it appears Williams was getting himself in a bit of strife himself. Frankly, Williams always came across as an intelligent but wantonly immature presence in the All Blacks. You could never accuse him of being boring though.

In terms of actual offences, Carter's bothers me a whole lot more than Williams'. What's the worst Comical Ali was going to do? Shove a bit of nonsense up his nose, talk even more than he usually does and end in a disco-battle with Dancin' Rick.

I know some people will find it outrageous. I've already talked to people and read the opinions of people who think Williams should be at the very least placed in stocks. I can't get worked up about it, sorry. The guy has likely ruined his playing career and made any transition to coaching, if that's what he wanted to do, difficult. That's more than a big enough price to pay.

Many more New Zealanders will find Carter's offence relatable. A frightening number of Kiwis, mostly male, still think getting behind the wheel of a car with a few bevvies on board is a rite of passage.

Call me a hypocrite, but even if Carter's offending was on the low end of that scale, I find that much more troubling than what Williams or, especially, Smith got up to.


Speaking of hypocrisy, I was accused of that last week by Simon F, who was not pleased that I was not pleased with the defence in some quarters of Kieran Foran's alleged abuse of journalist Rebecca Wilson.

Simon raised some good points in a curious mix of angry rationality and I would hasten to add I could never be accused of being above hypocrisy. While the email took some deciphering and wouldn't work well in the re-telling, it did contain this line: "What is the price you are demanding? A ruined career (imagine yours) because of hot air out of his mouth?"

I'm glad Simon raised this because it couldn't be further from the truth. We have seen countless times that sport and positive peer pressure can be a fantastic rehabilitation tool. The idea that Foran could be lost to the sport because of mental health problems that undoubtedly contributed to some poor behaviour is too sad to contemplate.

Should he have received a greater sanction than his quasi two-game suspension? Yes, probably, but that's not my decision.

But even if I believe he has been welcomed back with indecent haste, my issue is not with Foran's continued presence in the NRL, or at the Warriors, it is the minimising of his poor behaviour that is unhealthy and, ultimately, enabling.