As a long-standing and (usually) long-suffering supporter of the New Zealand cricket team, it has been a somewhat unusual last eighteen months. The New Zealand team has suddenly begun to play some good cricket, which is at odds with our reputation and (most of) our history.
|Happy days for NZ cricket fans.|
We had a good patch during the '80s when two brilliant cricketers in Martin Crowe and Richard Hadlee complemented by a selection of solid, generally dour players made us hard to beat, but after Hadlee retired things went downhill a bit in the bowling department. When Crowe was forced into early retirement by a knee injury in his early 30s the team and its results were pretty grim for a while.
Stephen Fleming's side of the early oughties restored some pride, but terrible man-management by those who run the game in New Zealand undid a lot that good work and put us back about a decade.
But things have finally started to come good, mainly on the back of some genuinely world-class fast bowlers, two very good batsmen and a confident, aggressive, innovative captain in the form of the talismanic Brendon McCullum.
Anyway, without wanting to jinx them all with overconfidence, the team is starting to look like it could go deep into the tournament. Although we're probably third favourite behind Australia and South Africa, there is not much between the sides, and if the kiwis can continue to show their mettle in tough situations they might just have the skill and talent to get through to the semi-finals, and after that anything could happen.
So, long story short, I've been enjoying spending following their fortunes. It makes a nice change to follow a team that is at last having some success!