Domestic Cricket Daily: Plunket Shield x Blackcaps Wrap

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On the back of Todd Astle's Blackcaps Test selection for the Bangladesh series, there is an obvious kiwi spinner angle to take for this Domestic Cricket Daily Plunket Shield wrap. I will explore the spinner situation, but not because there is any great insight to be gained with regards to who the best kiwi spinner is and instead, the return of Plunket Shield cricket only reinforced the fact that it's a silly debate to have.

Silly in the sense that all the kiwi spinners who are Blackcaps eligible (Lord Jeetz has retired), are so tightly packed in this buckie that it's purely based on personal opinion - not rooted in any statistical evidence. At this point, I refer to this exact idea which I explored when the Test squad selected which got deeper into the general stats which are all fairly similar.

Having served up a sizzler on Twitter with regards to the kiwi spinners, a reply came in referring to Astle's 4-wicket-haul (1w, 3w) in comparison to Ajaz Patel's 1w as reason to why Astle's better and thus the Blackcaps Test spinner. Canterbury defeated Central Districts Stags, which only enhances this idea of Astle being better than Patel.

First and foremost; Twitter is not the place for any type of discussion. Hence, replies to our Tweets are pointless because we're on Twitter to share our content and put sizzlers on the barbie. Go outside, get a hobby instead of engaging in any type of social media discussion.

This reply however, is evidence of how various stats and performances can be thrown up for any of the kiwi spin candidates in support of their selection. Here are just a few observations that could be used by any joker, in support of any of the kiwi spinner, strictly from this round of Plunket Shield cricket...

3 of Astle's 4 wickets were bottom-five batsmen.

Astle's selection was described by Gavin Larsen as also bolstering the Blackcaps batting line up; Astle had his stumps skittled twice to seemingly straight deliveries, scoring 16 and 4.

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Patel scored 3* and 10.

Will Somerville scored 21 in Auckland Aces' only innings.

Most notably though, Ish Sodhi clung on to score 47* and take Northern Districts Knights into a final day vs Wellington Firebirds. The Knights were chasing 373 and Sodhi was there with Zak Gibson (1 off 24 balls!) as the Knights welcomed plenty of rain, on 312/9. Having played a key role in saving a Test, Sodhi played a similar innings, although with more attacking shots (47* off 54) and this bumps Sodhi's Plunket Shield batting average this season up to 55 via 165 runs in 6inns with 3 not-outs.

Mark Chapman (74.68sr) is the only Plunket Shield batsman who has scored 100+ runs with a strike-rate higher than Sodhi's 72.05sr. With all we now know about Sodhi's batting, one could use these numbers to suggest that Sodhi is has done more in the international arena than Astle. Along with solid domestic batting numbers, Sodhi could be viewed as being equally, if not more capable of 'bolstering' any Blackcaps batting line up than Astle.

Sodhi also took 2w in the first innings vs Wellington and wasn't required in the second dig as both teams forced an exciting finish with plenty of rain around. Sodhi's wickets were top-four batsmen and this means that Sodhi took the most top-order (top-five) of this spinning group.

Somverville took 2w with the cheapest economy rate (1.71rpo), yet his wickets were both lower order wickets.

Somerville though, has 14w @ 21.92avg/2.57rpo and while he's got the best Plunket Shield record of these spinners, that's mainly because Astle and Patel have had limited game time.

One could use Somerville's Test performance and his current Plunket Shield work, to make a case for him being the best spinner in Aotearoa.

See what I'm doing here? A whole range of different stats or performances can be referred to hype up one kiwi spinner over another, thus making it silly. There is no blatantly obvious bloke to select and this is why my preference would have been for the status-quo (Ajaz Patel) to remain.

As for the other Blackcaps Test cricketers and how they performed in the Plunket Shield...

Jeet Raval

4 off 9, caught off a pull shot that was probably mis-timed.

Will Young

20 off 44, lbw to a lefty in-swinger.

20 off 19, caught behind to a Matt Henry back of the length thing that had Young stuck on the crease.

Matt Henry

5w @ 3.80rpo in 20ov, three top-five wickets; Worker, Hay, Bruce.

1w @ 2.75rpo in 16ov.

BJ Watling

77 off 144, lbw to a ball that ducked in from Logan van Beek, anchored the Knights innings to give them a chance of saving/winning the game ... typical BJ.

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Peace and love 27.