A Nichey Niche Convo

The Mystery Doctor and the Wildcard talk to each other every once in a while...

Mr Wildcard, it's ya local GP here. I'm just taking a break from pretending to save lives to catch up with your sporting soul. I won't lie, a few tears ran down my cheeks as I heard the news regarding Phil Hughes. I struggle to deal with that and it's why the support for Hughes, his family and his teammates has been amazing. How's it been for you?

What's up Doc? Yeah, that's been rough. Just a few days ago Phil Hughes was in line for a test recall and now this. It just goes to show how everything can seem so insignificant sometimes. But at least we get to choose which insignificancies we wish to hold dear, which I think is a beautiful thing. I feel so bad for Sean Abbott, to have this on his conscience though all he was doing was competing like anyone else on that field. I'm glad to see the outpouring of support for all involved though. Tragedy has a funny way of galvanising communities. With all Aussie domestic games being postponed after this horrific accident (and the NZ game too), we've seen the focus shift entirely towards the supportive. Images of teammates heading in and out of the hospital (including Michael Clarke, who Hughes was about to replace for a Baggy Green), tweets of support from all over the world. It's just a shame that a few media tweakers are using this as an excuse to drive an argument over rule changes. Terrible accidents happen in all walks of life and we can't account for them. Thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Phil Hughes. Words cannot express. Just don't ban the bouncer, don't soften the ball, don't ruin the sport. Your thoughts?

Yeah, it just sucks, no other way to really say it. The bouncer, it's gotta stay. Unless you wear that motorcycle helmet that Tony Greig once wore, there's not much you can do. He was wearing a helmet, it missed. There's always the option of simply getting out of the way of the ball and with all due respect to Hughes - he tried to hit it, he missed it and got hit. Ah cricket. Was the return of Danny Vettori enough to come close to cheering you up?

Not really, but it was still delightful, Doc. There are few things more awkwardly majestic than Danny V's floppy right arm as he loops into that iconic bowling stride. That iconic action that's changed so much since his early days yet still seems so familiar. He's now got the second longest test career by a kiwi (behind the legendary Bert Sutcliffe) and he's tied with Captain Fleming for the most tests for NZ. He's first if you count that charity ICC All Star game they did that time, but I don't. They made the stats count so that the players would try, it's probably safe to strike them from the record now. Anyway, it's odd seeing a Black Caps side with three spinners, I just wish the Pakistani's were a little easier to dismiss. Do you think Brendan McCullum might get away with one of those trick double-tails coins for the toss next series? Or maybe try the ol' 'Heads I win, Tails you lose' strategy.

Is it weird that Danny V is the epitome of cricket cool? Like it's 30+ degrees and Danny V's rocking the long sleeve swagging around the field. Sometimes I forget how awesome he is, luckily I have you to remind me. Also, he's the best left arm spinner to ever exist. He's the best to exist but despite his numbers, he's not a huge wicket taker which is why I like the 3 pronged spin attack. Ish Sodhi's leggies always (well, sometimes) create a chance, while Mark Craig has shown that he takes dem wickets. I reckon Brendon McCullum's shitty coin toss picking ability is building some balls in this Black Caps side - they don't get what they want, so they just have to play better. Hey, are Manchester United in the last 16 of the Champions League?

Don't forget Dan's famous frames, either! And I'm growing on Mr Craig too. Umm... no, as it happens United aren't in the Last 16. But we are in the Top 4 of the Premier League. Boom. I tried to avoid the Champions League out of spite this season but I can't do it. It's just too good! The Champions League is more competitive than the World Cup, and a better standard (once the knockouts start) than any domestic league. That was a mighty impressive win for Arsenal and a lovely goal by Alexis Sanchez, though I'll admit I had the telly tuned in to see Liverpool do Liverpool things in conceding a late equaliser to an unknown Belgian team. Hahaha. Rodgers should never have taken Sterling off, that showed his bus-parking hand and Ludogorets called his bluff. But the best game I watched this week was Man City (the scum) stealing a win over Bayern despite getting dominated by their 10-men. That's probably because City only have 1 man these days, Sergio Aguero. Three chances, three goals. This feels sooo much like Luis Suarez/Liverpool last season. Excluding the Frodo/Gandalf pairing of Messi/Ronaldo, is there a better forward in the world right now than Aguero?

I've decided that Mark Craig is a Danny V wannabe. No shots fired, but he's pretty similar ... he's cricket cool ya know. So is Misbah ul Haq. I saw the Arsenal game which was good, was pretty worried as Dortmund have sucked this season but are great on the counter and well we know what Arsenal are like defending that. Are Liverpool on a path towards self destruction? Are they Lindsay Lohan!? Yeah, Aguero, he's easily the best in the EPL, probably the best straight up and down striker in the world. Messi and Ronaldo don't exist in our world, so meh. Aguero is the king! But he's not the King of New Zealand, because that crown goes to Steven Adams. He's just the man.

Yep. There's no other athlete in the world where I immediately read/watch/listen to any interview they do just because it's them. I love that Steven Adams is able to do what he's doing in the NBA while remaining a down-to-earth kiwi lad in the process. That's the model you want kids looking up to. I don't know about Liverpool, they appear to be emotionally broken. Get a few results on the board and things will look different but in the meantime they seem strapped for confidence. The Lindsay Lohan comparison's a little harsh, at least they put three-quarters of a title challenge together, Lohan's never getting her hands on an Oscar unless she steals one from Jennifer Lawrence's handbag. How would your King of New Zealand Power Rankings look, as far as sports go? Lord Richie #1, naturally. Probably Shaun Johnson/Manu/Mannering up there somewhere. Steven Adams, of course. Brendon McCullum? Winston Reid? Joseph Parker, maybe? No rowers, please. Our Queen is beyond doubt Valerie Adams, so it might be weird if her brother takes the throne beside her.

Big Steve is like gravity, you're just drawn in to whatever he does. Lohan, well she had a few nice movies so she at the very least got herself to the point where she could self destruct in an entertaining manner. Poor Brendan Rodgers. Yeah, Lord Richie and Manu and McCullum. The others have a few years to go, before they can rise up the ranks, you have to consistently win our hearts over. Yeah, having Big Steve as our King and Queen Val would be very Game of Throne like wouldn't it? Maybe Queen Val and her king-like brother Big Steve who is like Tywin Lannister. Not king, queen or prince but just the man who is the king of the streets.

Lohan looked nice in some movies, there's a difference, haha. And I'd say poor Brendan Rodgers, but it's kinda his fault. Him and whoever else makes the decisions on the transfer stuff, coz that's where it all started. Steven Adams as Tywin Lannister? Game of Thrones would be a much different show if Papa Lannister could've blocked those dunny arrows at the rim. Though I think I prefer him as a 7 foot tall Tyrion. That'd REALLY shake up some family dynamics.

Sorry Wildcard, I've had enough of your good discussion. I mean, I have an emergency to dash to, someone needs some peptides. Peace!

Gotta give the people what they want, Doc. Onwards and upwards.