A couple ODI's into the kiwi summer and that means a chin-wag about who is using what bats in the ODI squad, following on from the Test squad. For those double dipping in between Test and ODI cricket, there isn't much to discuss but there has been a major shift given that the Test yarn I wrote centred around Jeet Raval, BJ Watling and Colin de Grandhomme moving away from Kookaburra (to SS/TON); in the ODI group, we have a Kookaburra revival.
Injecting Martin Guptill, Tim Seifert and Jimmy Neesham into the 1st 11 for the first two ODI's vs Sri Lanka, has bolstered the Kookaburra crew immensely. Remember that in the Test team, Tom Latham was the only Blackcap using Kookaburra and while Kookaburra got great service out of Latham, this was a dip in what we have come to expect. In coloured clothing, not only is there quantity in Kookaburra's favour, there is also quality given how Guptill, Seifert and Neesham have performed in just two games.
With Guptill in the ODI team and Latham in the Test team, Kookaburra have two of Aotearoa's leading batsmen in either format. That's pretty damn important considering that Gray Nicolls (Kane Williamson) and GM (Ross Taylor) also have world-class kiwis on their roster. Although Kookaburra would probably want to have a situation where their batsmen are locked in selections across both Test and ODI cricket, having a Test opener and an ODI opener who both churn out runs is just as valuable.
It's a win/win in terms of wicket-keeping as the competition for the starting ODI gig feels as though it's between Seifert and Latham. Both are Kookaburra soldiers and we've seen in this series vs Sri Lanka so far, a strong Kookaburra middle order as Seifert and Neesham have impressed with their opportunities.
The other notable batsman who steps into the spotlight during an ODI series is Colin Munro, who was previously part of the New Balance revolution but has shifted to 'DCS'. DCS comes out of India and stands for Delux Sports Company, boasting a reasonably impressive top-end roster featuring Dwayne Bravo, Mushfiqur Rahim, now retired Kumar Sangakkara as well as ol' mate Manu.
When I was Tweetin' up a storm about the Test team's bat usage, the rise of these Asian brands was thrown up vs how it used to be with the more standard 'western' brands (including Slazenger). My response was that in very general terms, it was fairly similar if you chuck New Balance in place of Slazenger and while we've now got Munro rocking the DCS in the ODI team, all three of those SS/TON lads aren't in this ODI team.
Sure, de Grandhomme will come into the equation at some stage but for this Sri Lanka series, Munro is the only kiwi using what many would consider to be an 'unfamiliar' brand to most kiwis. At best, I can see a 1st 11 featuring Munro and de Grandhomme, while it would be a stretch to see any other notable batsmen/all-rounders who use those more Asian brands coming into the mix -have to wait and see how the squads are selected ahead of the World Cup.
Also funky here is the move away from New Balance for Munro. Munro still wears New Balance kicks though, which I find interesting but very few people would find that interesting. New Balance only had Trent Boult using their gear in the Test team, most notably for the bowling kicks and even without Munro, they still have Ish Sodhi in the ODI team. Then Mitchell Santner will come into the equation.
The other squad man who is likely to play in tomorrow's third ODI is Doug Bracewell, who (from crappy NZC Plunket Shield footage) appears to have picked up a Gray Nicolls sponsorship. I'll save that for the next yarn though, until then here is the the breakdown from the two Sri Lanka ODI's so far...
Martin Guptill - Kookaburra
Colin Munro - DCS
Kane Williamson - Gray Nicolls
Ross Taylor - GM
Henry Nicholls - Gray (Henry) Nicholls
Jimmy Neesham - Kookaburra
Tim Seifert - Kookaburra
Tim Southee - Adidas
Ish Sodhi - New Blalance
Matt Henry/Lockie Ferguson - Kookaburra
Trent Boult - New Balance.
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Peace and love 27.