Almanac Cricket: Black Caps can teach us a lot

Have spent the last week looking at rain, walking in the rain and watching it rain in England. However the real plus of all this rain watching was that the ICC World Cricket Championship match was being played out in Southampton.



What a wonderful victory the undoubted champions of world cricket the mighty New Zealand team gave us cricket lovers.  Had to watch it to the end on Wednesday night what a wonderful win from a very gutsy and competent unit who play as a team.



Like all cricket followers who bare no allegiance to any particular country I have been cheering for the Black Caps  after what happened in the ‘other’ cricket against England a short while ago. As with everything they do in sport the Kiwis have come out on top.



So what can the Cricket Australia, in all its various guises learn from watching the Black Caps in action given that the baggy greens seem to be floundering in the middle of nowhere.



Firstly  – humility. Ever since the BC’s under Brendan McCallum decided that cricket was just a game this team has shown the way in world cricket about how we should play the game. Kane Williamson leads a fine team with only one bully boy in Neil Wagner. was aggressive in a loveable way and laughs all the way to the bank when his short balls continue to take a wicket. Think Matthew Wade.



Secondly – less boffins than any other team.  The BC’s do not have an army of scientific boffins surrounding the team and let the players get on with their game.  They, in my opinion, are still the best judges of their own ability and I don’t see the coach taking them to a computer to view their game.



Selection  – there never seems to be much discussion on who makes the team or how it is selected.  Look at the second test match against England. Six changes and they still won.  Everyone knows they have a chance of selection if you perform.  No so in Australia.  A happy team is a successful team. There is too much outside interference with the Oz team and inability for selectors to think outside the square.  When was the last time Australia made huge changes when selecting a team?  Also to many players get a green cap or a yellow cap far too easily and that goes from U17 national teams and upwards.



Remuneration – New Zealand cricketers pay packets would be lucky to be 50% of what Australian players receive but I believe they play for their country and their country is the first option when they think international cricket.  Australia players might say they love paying for their country but I doubt it.  Look at the team going to the West Indies this weekend. How come so many of the so-called first string cricketers have decided not to play. Don’t give me any bullshit injury problems.  They want to pick and chose and the system here allows them to do it.



Administration – with about a third of the employees that Australia has New Zealand Cricket are head and shoulders above us. Their micro management outshines Australia in leaps and bounds and although I am not privy to team selection I would vouch that they have clauses that say ‘New Zealand First’ instead of chasing dollars all over the world.



Sheffield Shield v Plunkett Shield –  Not many of the New Zealanders miss out on playing in the local domestic competition whereas Australian players are often ‘rested’ to lighten their work load. I don’t see war-horses Trent Boult and Tim Southee wanting to miss any games.



It might sound just so simple in what I have written but I do believe that Australian cricket needs a shake up from the grass-roots up right through to our national selection of teams. The Black Caps deserve every honour they get, mind you they have some very very good players who have worked hard to make it too the top but there was no easy run like Australians get.



Malcolm Fraser said (I think) ‘Life was not meant to be easy’  but I am convinced that Cricket Australia and everyone connected with it don’t go along with Fraser’s statement. Hard work never hurt anyone.



Finally, as of today look at the respective populations.  Australia 26,289,094 and New Zealand 4,806,337 – I rest my case.



The Tigers (Covid) Almanac 2020 will be published in the coming weeks. It will have all the usual features – a game by game account of the Tigers season – and will also include some of the best Almanac writing from the Covid winter.  Pre-order right now HERE


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About Bob Utber

At 80 years of age Citrus Bob is doing what he wanted to do as a 14 year-old living on the farm at Lang Lang. Talking, writing, watching sport. Now into his third book on sports history he lives in Mildura with his very considerate wife (Jenny ) and a groodle named "Chloe On Flinders". How good is that.


  1. Good onya Bob. What a wonderful match. Having a ‘cheese’n’kisses’ who’s a ‘Kiwi’ made it even better. NZ were dudded in the ODI World Cup final, so this first Test Championship final goes a bit of a way to erase the bitterness of that result.

    Selection, Remuneration, Administration: where do we start on these topics?

    With selection the decision to pick Burns to open ahead of the in form Harris at the start of last summer was muddle-headed to put it simply. When Harris got a berth later in the summer, after not having played a first class match for weeks, how do you interpret that? None of these decisions strengthened the team.

    The Australian administration: who is there currently? I felt we had strong stable administration a while back but the last decade or so it seems to have chopped and changed with different corporate entities being the main players. These types have always been there but is there a public face of Australia’s cricket administration the public can recognise?

    Remuneration: hasn’t the world changed from pre-WSC days? I don’t bedrudge the players being paid big $$, cricket is a big player in the entertainment industry. The sponsors, the corporate partners make big money from the performances of the cricketers. The fact there is so much money in cricket means money is thrown around like confetti. Does being paid heaps make someone a better cricketer? Debatable.

    The Sheffield Shield compared to the Plunkett Shield? Since the 1970’s the Sheffield Shield has been the poorest relation in the Australian cricket family. Once recognised as the world’s strongest domestic competition is now barely a shadow of it’s old self.

    I dare wonder if the Australian team is a happy team?

    Anyhow, Aronhui to the New Zealand cricket team. Great effort.


  2. A player like Tim Southee would not have got a look in as a younger bloke under our 140kph or bust approach to picking bowlers.
    Ranked no. 3 in the world with 300 wickets at 28 and a strike rate under 60.
    Focus on the wickets column not the speed gun.

  3. Daniel Flesch says

    From pre-Federation times up to the present ,there’s occasional suggestion New Zealand should become a state in a Commonwealth of Australasia. Will never happen of course , but what if it did ? With a population less than Vic., less than NSW and less than Qld., a New Zealand team in the Sheffield Shield would win it every year

  4. CITRUS BOB says

    GLEN – excellent points and I hope the 18 players that have gone to the West Indies representing Australia have a good time. !8!! with 3 wicketkeepers

    GREG A – Oh for a Tim Southee in our team. Trent Copeland comes to mind but he is about 7th cab of the rank in NSW.
    DANIEL – heaven forbid that NZ became a state! There would be no Rugby Union, cricket, netball, yachting or tiddly-winks team to beat us!

  5. Luke Reynolds says

    Can’t argue with any of your points CB, though while happy for our best players to be well paid I’d love to see more of a commitment at state level, and the “competition” aspect more in play in the Sheffield Shield than just being simply a feeder comp.

    I watched nearly every ball of the WTC Final, have been waiting for a Test cricket Grand Final all my life, and while the whole concept needs much tinkering, it’s one of cricket’s best initiatives in recent times and full credit to the ICC for finally getting it started.

  6. CITRUS BOB says

    LUKE – apologies for the late reply I have been busy trying to count the number of players and staff CA have sent on their “jaunt” (sorry tour) of the West Indies. At last count, it was 37 (20 players and 17 staff).
    Your use of the word COMMITMENT says it all and all they want to talk about is how good JL is.

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