It's Friday again, and for those of us lucky enough to live in the lower North Island, a long weekend beckons; Wellington Anniversary weekend; it's a bit of a two-edged sword though, as it will be our last long weekend until Easter, which is late this year.
There's been a few sporting issues of interest this week, especially on and off the cricket field. The Black Caps may not have won the second test at Wellington, but they put up a much improved performance, especially in the batting. Then again, it would be hard to have turned in a worse batting performnace than the second innings at Hamilton.
The match also marked Daniel Vettori's last test match as captain, and his place in the test team must surely now be far from certain. The bottom line now that Vettori is no longer a selector and a coach as well as being captain is this: is he New Zealand's best spin bowler? On the evidence of the fifth day at Wellington, where he had ideal spin bowling conditions, the answer to that is this; probably not. Sure, his batting is an asset late in the order, but he simply doesn't bowl teams out. In the shorter version of the game his variations in pace and flight are invaluable, but we reckon that the selectors should be looking elsewhere for a test match spinner.
We also have mixed feelings over the World Cup squad. We would have preferred to see a second wicketkeeper picked in the form of Peter McGlashan. The buzz doing the rounds though is that the selctors have put the acid on Brendon McCullum to front up by not picking a specialist deputy. It's an interesting piece of reverse psychology; time will tell if it works.
There's a bit of sport to enjoy over the weekend, but not a feast. The Black Caps will be looking to break their losing sequence at the Cake Tin tomorrow night in the first of six full dress rehearsals for the World Cup; it really is crunch time for them. The Australians and the English do battle tonight today in Hobart and on Sunday in Sydney. The Breakers continue to lead the Aussie NBL and look to be the real deal, and the Wellington Phoenix can edge closer to the top six with a win over the hapless Perth Glory.
That's about it from us this morning, as work beckons. What say you?