So, as our problems start at the TOP of the order, who do we think should be our openers for the England series? I think this is far more important than who keeps and if anything, should affect that decision rather than the other way round.
I'm not even going to talk about McCullum not opening because it's ludicrous. If that's really going to happen then there's just no helping us. I hope the comments made mean McCullum will bat more aggressively as opener - I wouldn’t mind that.
From vague rumblings from the NZ camp there are four options to partner McCullum: Guptill, Watling, Flynn, Fulton. Leaving aside other considerations, who do we think is the best bet for the two England series and beyond?
Guptill: Has been horrible for some time. I've seen people write that the problems are mental - I disagree. He clearly has technical problems, some of which can definitely be remedied and some that probably can't. He may also have simply reached the limit of his ability (though I don't usually favour that sort of self-defeating explanation). Almost without fail he scores runs when he drops down a level, whether it be to flat pitches in limited overs cricket, or to domestic cricket. I haven't looked in detail at the runs he scored in county cricket however I suspect many were on flatter wickets or against weaker attacks too. That doesn't point to his mental approach being the problem. Test opening may just prove to be a bridge too far. Suspect he’s not helped by constant switching between limited overs and test cricket, however he’s a fixture in the LO sides so that won’t change. Would some time away to work on things help? Not sure, though I hope so. Good slip catcher. Results point to him being dropped however I still reserve the right to call the dropping a conspiracy to get rid of Taylor supporters .
Watling: Current flavour of the month, which immediately makes me sceptical. Leaving aside whether he should keep wicket or not, is he really the best bet to partner McCullum? He seems to be a hard worker and has genuinely improved – he’d need to have considering he couldn’t score runs against Zimbabwe last time he opened. Or against Windies iirc. Has scored runs recently – even if they’re down the order or LO you can’t argue with runs. I wouldn’t say his defence is great by any stretch – doesn’t always defend with a straight bat, gets squared up by outswingers, has often in the past been guilty of the Williamson-like prod outside off, though perhaps less now. Is playing the ball later than he was. Got out to the new ball every time he faced it in SA (though so did everyone else). I get a few Guptill vibes with Watling tbh.
Flynn: Looks like he’ll not be required in our middle order with Taylor returning and Brownlie scoring runs. A terrible tour of SA, even if you forgive his first innings slog when batting with Martin. Still seems unsure what sort of batsman he wants to be – either gritty or more of a strokemaker. ‘Gritty’ Flynn would seem to match well with a more attacking McCullum at the top of the order. I don't usually put too much store in this but the fact he's a lefty, in our righty dominated lineup, against England's attack, should be a BIG advantage compared to our other options. Does defend with an angled bat though. However does play the ball reasonably late, which is good (apart from that half-front-foot slash away from his body, which he sometimes has the discipline to put away). Can play the short ball reasonably these days. Has been a standout domestic FC batsman last few years along with Brownlie. I still rate him quite highly and had hoped the couple of fifties in SL would be a turning point. Does he want to be an opener? I don’t know, and it’s important. Average fielder.
Fulton: Blurgh. Shouldn't even be considered unless he's moving like it's 2007, which I doubt because he's close to 34 now.
Others: Rutherford might be worth a debut in another 12-18 months if he scores domestic runs. Raval may have the best numbers of an untried domestic opener this year, however that's not saying much. Needs to be far more consistent.
Though there's not a lot between Watling and Flynn, and even Guptill in my mind, I would choose Flynn. But he has to want to open.
Last edited by straw man; 21-01-2013 at 05:11 PM.
I would stick with McCullum and Guptill. Guptill should read David Trist's comments about standing too upright and going hard at the ball.
If McCullum moves to the middle order, then Flynn can open with Guptill. Watling would shift to no7.
Lol @ everyone reactions to Scaly comments about Ronchi being in the Test side. Clearly it's just his latest hobby-horse to insinuate that just because an Australian FC player has moved to NZ, he must be an automatic selection, in spite of the fact he wouldn't have seen him play here. The reality is there is no place in the test side for Ronchi atm, even if our batting depth is paper-thin ( and nobody is disputing that). Unless people are suggesting he's a better option than Watling, I can't see where he would fit in.
Anyways, I've thought about it and while the following might appear a bit radical, this is the side I think would give us the best chance to compete against England.
1)Rutherford (we need a left hander and Guptill & Flynn need a rest)
2) McCullum ( yes opening, we have enough strength in the middle & its about the team)
12th man Bracewell/Milne
I know it's a big call to leave Bracewell out, but he really hasn't produced much since Hobart and Gillespie if fit is a genuine wicket-taker. It does lengthen our tail somewhat, but then again when was the last time Bracewell scored test runs?
McClenaghan has shown enough in the short-form to suggest he's worth trying. A solid lad who hits the wicket hard and gets swing and seam.
I genuinely believe that bowling attack is our best chance of taking 20 wickets. Vettori to restrict at one end and all out attack from attacking seamers at the other.
Milne is the other consideration, but happy to settle for the above for now.
Last edited by Zinzan; 21-01-2013 at 09:00 PM.
Zinzan I see your crazy team and raise you
Ideal 11 for me:
^ Also, if people think Williamson was a bit too loose for 3, batting Jesse there worries me even more so.
Srsly though if Vettori comes in and bowls like he did last summer it's time for him to move up the order if he's to play. There's being a containing bowler and then there's being a Franklin with a lower/moderate rpo. Me suggesting him to open was a light hearted prod but I still think if anyone has the sheer determination to make the move to open it is him.
Of the realistic opening options I'd either just stick with Guptill and at least keep his world class fielding, or I'd tell Flynn to open for ND and hope he belts it then pick him, even though I think he won't be a crash hot opener.
I don't think the younger openers are ready, I don't think Watling can do it and I don't think Fulton will succeed either, though obvz I hope I'm wrong and I usually am so good signs!
Or we could take the piss and get someone up there to either block it or slog it, and provide something in another department. Tastle, NcCullum etc.
Or Ronchi could open I guess.
In the meantime we need to kidnap Turner, Wright and Rigor and start cloning.
Last edited by Flem274*; 21-01-2013 at 09:26 PM.
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