The future of NZ cricket = Ryder/McCullum

Tonight, England’s one day cricket team were thumped by Jesse Ryder and Brendon McCullum, who chased down a rain reduced target of 165 in 18.1 overs at Seddon Park in Hamilton, NZ. And if you saw it, you would be hard pressed to disagree that they did it with entertaining flair and dynamic power (plus a little bit of luck).

I tuned in on Fox Sports 3 at about the 6th over, when the total was around 0/35 (or 35/0 if you’re not an Aussie cricket fan – I still wonder why it’s neither uniformly runs/wickets or wickets/runs around the commentating world), and came across 23 year old Jesse Ryder. He reminds me a bit of Darren Lehmann – solidly stocky and not too much foot work, but heck he could hit the ball hard and far! The commentators were applauding the coming of a superstar.

To be honest, I think New Zealand have struggled to find a consistent world class cricketer in the years that I’ve followed cricket, that is, since Richard Hadlee retired. Even though names like Astle, Cairns and Vettori have performed well at times, it’s been difficult to see them combine their talents consistently and provide a strong challenge to Australia (save the Chappell Hadlee trophy whitewash last year).

But in Ryder and McCullum (who is known for his occasional dashing opening innings), there’s a chance that the Black Caps have found the combination that does for NZ one day cricket what Hayden/Langer did for Australian test cricket and Jayasuriya/Kaluwitharana did for Sri Lankan cricket in the mid to late 90s. That is, develop brisk run rates whilst playing sensibly and not giving the opposition too many chances to break down the partnership. Of course, the next game (at Eden Park on Friday) may well be another matter entirely, but having a game ripped from their grasp so emphatically does not bode well for England, whose morale must be rather shaken.

If I find highlights on Youtube, I’ll post them. No cricket fan outside of the United Kingdom would be disappointed.

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