Mathew Sinclair | 4:36am gmt 22 Apr 2010
Stags 20/20 Domestic Champions
You have to excuse me for my lack of blog writings of lately. Busy with changing nappies and wielding my bat for CD and a NZ call up have all made this season an enjoyable and promising one.
Winning the domestic Twenty20 competition would definitely have been the highlight of my career, and of course the likely potential in heading over to India for this lucrative Champions League tournament. It's a fantastic opportunity I guess not only for myself as I have never been to India, but also for some of the youngsters to experience such a mad culture of cricket. A large proportion of our success in the Twenty20 competition this year was based around experience and power hitting. Ross Taylor hit the ball out of the park on many occasions and it gave our bowlers something to bowl at.
As well as some new boys on the scene namely Kieran Noema Barnett who in my opinion hits the ball as far as anyone else out there, highlighted by an over from him when he hit Daniel Vettori first ball for six and then the second. We were unbeatable on our home turf Pukekura Park in New Plymouth thanks to the short boundary's there and the depth in our batting line up. Graham Napier our overseas pro would have been I think one of our better signings and his bowling at the top proved a match winning one. His raw pace and hitting ability down the order for us suited the make up of our team. I guess we can only hope that we are able to get his services as well as the others like Taylor and Oram.
If wherever this tournament is likely to be we must go over there with a view to win every game and show to the other playing nations how competitive we really are. The team that we are likely to take over I think will give us that chance. Not only is it in New Zealand Crickets interest but we are going over there to represent all the other associations and we need to do well to remain playing in this tournament. It really does provide so many great opportunities for our players to express themselves and perform over there and who knows where that could take you.
It was I must admit a pleasant surprise to be called up for the Black Caps against the Australians in the second test in Hamilton. Having some runs under my belt and coming off a patient 100 against Auckland I felt personally that I was in pretty good form. Mark Greatbatch had informed me that there was every chance that I was to play this Test and so I went about preparing myself for the ultimate test. The feeling in the camp was good and although whenever we play against the Australians there is always some form of anxiety we felt that we could at least compete with them but we had to do this over five days. We felt that we competed in certain sessions in Wellington but then let it slip in the last sessions, so that was our major goal. It's never easy taking a mates place in a test team and for Peter Ingram he took it so well and even said to me that he would have rather given up his spot for me than let someone else have it, so I thought that was real good of him and gave me that added confidence to do well.
Having gone up against any Australian attack is never easy especially when you have spent a few overs in the park but I viewed it as a real challenge that I wanted to go out there and give it my all regardless of what might happen. Training had gone real well and mentally I had done some real good stuff courtesy of one of our better golfers in NZ Mark Brown who had sent me some real good stuff on mental imagery via a Compact Disc that you listen too which enhances your subliminal thoughts and gets you into what all sportsman call 'in the moment'. There's nothing better than heading out to bat with a clear mind on what you have to do and of course you versus the bowler. I hadn't faced much of the Australian bowlers and I guess the trend continued on with an absolutely rip snorter of a yorker that Mitchell Johnson bowled to me and I didn't have enough time to get my bat down in time. I think he even surprised himself that he actually bowled that perfect in swinging yorker length. The second innings was starting out nicely for me but was given out LBW off Clarke as I miss judged the turn. Overall I was pretty disappointed not to have contributed a lot more in this test but it gave me that motivation to once again wear the Black Cap and I gave it my all.
Standout performances for me were Mitchell Johnson with his pace and Ross Taylors bludgeoning quick fire 100 in that Test. It also I believe has highlighted a few things that we are lacking here in NZ domestic First Class Cricket, and that is quality fast bowlers that are genuinely quick in and around that 140-150 km bracket. Test match cricket is all about taking wickets and when we only have Shane Bond in a limited capacity for us we lack that real fire power to at least scare a few world class batters. We at times never really threatened them with our batting but I think this will take a lot of time to get right and the more better exposure we can get with good teams the better chances we are of batting a long time against good quality bowling. Who knows what lays ahead with my chances on getting back into the team with the likes of Ryder back from injury, but whatever happens I fully enjoyed the opportunity and want to still show the cricket public that there is still a desire for the Black Cap.
Exciting times are all ahead of this season coming up with a new CEO of Central Districts and a new coach. It is with great sadness to see Ewen Thompson head up North and leave our association for a job in cricket. Ewen has had a stellar career for the stags and one guy that always gives it everything, he will be solely missed with the ball and bat for us as he can be a guy that has turned a game on its head a many a time. With Ewen moving on has created some great playing opportunities for a lot of our CD under 19 boys and they have all had a great introduction to the first class arena. Watch out for Adam Milne, Bevan Small, and Ben Wheeler as these guys are the future of CD and all bowl at a good head of pace. It's great to know that when I do start thinking of some form of retirement these guys are going to be there to follow in our footsteps.
Back to a bit of reality for me now as I try and plan out my winter with an eye on possible careers outside of the game and also on training for the upcoming season.
I look forward to seeing your comments and will endeavour to try and keep everyone informed as they come to hand in regards to everything and anything about this great game we call cricket.
Until the next time, yours in cricket
M S Sinclair