A Nichey Niche Convo - Before Black Caps vs Australia

This special occasion means that the Dizzy Doc and the Wildcard double up, here's their thoughts ahead of the Black Caps vs Australia...

Dizzy Doc - Sir Wildcard, for once in our lives we serve up a Black Caps team who can more than compete with Australia. The very reason we haven't been able to enjoy games like this more often is because every time we play Australia we get dismantled and so that respect simply isn't there. The only way to change things is to put in consistently good showings starting tomorrow. My first question to you is about Mike Hesson's answer to a question about the Aussie pace attack ... Adam Milne isn't really Mitchell Johnson or Mitchell Start right?

Wildcard - What's up Dizzy Doc? Yeah, I can't believe we haven't played the Aussies more often. It's a travesty. You know Kane Williamson, in 68 ODIs, has only played them once and that was a rained out Champions Trophy game. And I'm not sure about the dismantlings, I know that's the reputation but I think that's more a dismissive Australian point of view. Our Chappell-Hadlee form was pretty damn impressive there for a while. Plus Shane Bond was never better than against Oz, B-Mac's T20 century, Dougie's Hobart heroics... we've done them in more than our fair share in the past decade or so. We still lose more than we win, but it's only the odd game where we crumble that's spoiling it for us. And anyway, this current Blackcaps side is as good as it's ever been.

Nope, Adam Milne most certainly is not a Johnson/Starc. He also doesn't have to be though. He'll get compared because of the pace thing, but Milne's a third seamer in this side and ours is a swing attack, not a pace attack. I have high hopes for Trent Boult in this game, I'm just gonna out that out there. 

Two things that are amusing me in the mass media's cricket coverage: strike rates seem to have overtaken batting averages for some reason. Bowling strike rates have long been underrated (Shane Bond has one of the best in history) but batting strike rates only matter for the guys that bat at the end of innings. Also, McCullum's record at losing the toss seems to be held against him. Do people realise how coin tosses work? It's literally 50-50, any trend is just luck. Having said that, apparently we've lost 7 in a row against the Aussies in ODIs, going back to March 2010.

DD - The reason we remember those efforts from the kiwis is because they were every so often, one in every series type of events. The Adam Milne thing, I mean that Hesson said they face Milne in the nets every day so they're not worried about the extra nip from the Aussies. I hope it's swinging because Eden Park is a bit of a batting paradise and both teams have top shelf swing bowling. Seeing the buck passed from Southee to Boult game to game would be amazing and if Boult ends up being the best bowler then he'd be better than two lefties who bowl faster and swing the ball as well.

That's the thing about swing, our swing bowlers are 135-140km/h and theirs are 140-145km/h at least, so it's going to be a good match up.

Sure, there's numbers that back up a coin toss like batting first at this ground gives you this chances of success etc but I don't give a fuck. Natty Mac isn't trained in the art of coin flipping despite his mythical nature, he's trained in the art of whacking the ball. Fuck the coin toss.
I agree about strike rates as well, they only matter when they need to matter ... which is when you need to score quickly. We talk a lot about T20 cricket influencing the players, but we as fans have been influenced even more which is super dumb.

Gimme a few reasons/players why  Australia scare ya? Keeping you in your bed because you're scared to go take a wee...

WC - Haha, that's so true. It's not so much the players that have been altered by T20 (maybe pushed quicker along the course they were already taking?), but the fans.

Also, I feel we need to put some distance between B-Mac and Natty Mac. Brendon McCullum is Brendon McCullum, and Natty Mac is a mystical deity whom he channels on occasion. And mystical deities are too busy inspiring the people to bother with coin tosses.

Ok, here we go. Reasons the Aussies scare me:
1) The intimidation factor
2) Lightning fast lefties that can swing it late
3) A deep batting order that rarely crumbles
4) Their unwavering confidence vs our inexperience on this stage
5) Eden Park

DD - We as fans now expect big totals, we expect batsmen to smash it so anytime that doesn't happen we feel shitty. When the bowlers dominate, it's bad batting ya know?

Maybe B-Mac needs to channel Natty Mac at the coin toss then??

It's odd that Eden Park scares you. on behalf of the Aussies, which I understand ... cue Steve Smith slapping sixes every where. Eden Park is our sporting mecca though, it's our fortress, IT'S WHERE WE DOMINATE SPORT.

And I hope fans act accordingly.

I'm scared of Glenn Maxwell.

WC - Slight correction, Eden Park is where the All Blacks dominate sport. The Blackcaps usually win there, but I'm scared specifically of Australia at that tiny little venue. Power hitters in a small field, ya know? Here's a hastily researched fact: we've lost 11 of the 16 games at Eden Park against the Aussies. If we played them in Wellington or in bottom island I'd rate our chances higher. I still think we can win, except Eden Park's another barrier. 

On the fan thing, what do ya reckon of the idea that's been floating around of instead of booing guys like Davie Dumbass, the fans instead go dead silent. Pin drop silence. Completely absent of noise, you can hear a heart beat. How tense and unnerving would that be to walk out into?

DD - Point taken, but we need to approach Eden Park with the same attitude and I don't see why not because we deal with its funky dimensions every summer.

And I want to see it full to the brim for a cricket game, like I did way back when. There was absolutely no feeling in the world that could rival being on the terraces in the last 10 overs of an ODI match.

See for me, that silent treatment is equally effective and equally as aggressive ya know which is why I'm happy if fans do it. This whole anti-boo shit needs to stop, we're not watching 10 year old's play, nah if I'm booing an opponent, I'm going to do it without a care in the world because I can. However, silent treatment can be equally effective but when Warner or Johnson is patrolling the boundary, you can't be silent you've got to let them know where they're playing. You've got to let them know that Eden Park is our home and we don't like you. 
But yeah, when someone is walking out to bat, go silent or whatever but be witty as well, chirp away because it's an epic Trans Tasman battle. Sitting on a moral high horse doesn't do this fixture justice.

WC - Oh, there's no doubt the crowd's gonna be stacked. Hopefully they don't let too many Australians in there and we could be talking a complete blackout. This is possibly the biggest sporting event on our soil since the Rugby World Cup final, the whole country is gonna stop for it. Having an 8 day build up has been perfect for hype-hoarding, it's honestly been dominating the sports news all week.

"Warner's a wanker" [clap-clap-clap-clap-clap]

Yeah, I like the idea of complete silence, if I remember right it's something they do at Croke Park in Ireland when opposition kickers line on up on the tee and it's straight up eerie. Buuuut it's not feasible. Not for a trans-tasman clash, we don't do formalities too well down under. Especially not now when Australian cricket hate has seemingly regathered itself to the state it got to in the heydays of Warne/Hayden/McGrath/Lee/etc. (but not Gilly, of course). What this generation lacks in comparative talent, they make up for in being utterly unlikable.

DD - Eden Park needs to be a sea of black, inflatable boxing kangaroos need to be burning and posters of Prince Williamson need to be raised. There's nothing less in a Trans Tasman clash. 

I think that's why this Australian side is still pretty darn good as while they might not be as talented, they are still super talented but have that collective edge and mindset. Which means they're equally as easy to hate despite not being so amazing ya know?

I mean this game even has Luke Ronchi! Ronchi vs Brad Haddin is an epic battle for multiple reasons

WC - he funny thing is, while this game is enormous and highly anticipated and all that... the result isn't gonna matter too much. Obviously you wanna finish as high as possible for better seeding, especially since it's not out of the question that first place in our group plays Ireland in the quarters, but it's not a huge deal. You've gotta beat the best eventually and I'd back us against anyone on the other side of the draw aside from South Africa or India - who even then we could give pounding to in the semis on our day.

It's almost like this game exists outside of the World Cup. They're even putting the Chappell-Hadlee trophy up for grabs!

DD - I think that's a product of not playing the Aussies in yonks, like we've been starved of this contest that should happen at least every year. The fact that it's holding down a little corner of the World Cup is awesome but the fact that the result doesn't really hold great importance in the big scheme of things is also important as it means we can just look at it as a one off Trans Tasman battle.

Pick a batsman and a bowler from either team who is going to perform ze best...

WC - That's definitely part of it. There's a perfect storm feel about this game in some ways.

Right. Umm... for Oz I'll say Smith and Starc. Steve Smith because we've hardly faced the guy and he's due at some stage this tournament. A difficult player to bowl to and in a great place these days. Mitchell Starc because too much heat is gonna be on Mitchell Johnson, just like how I feel about Boult. So for NZ Trentavius Boult is on the podium, especially after Southee's heroics. It's like a great boxer, with the left and the right. He just landed a knockout blow with a devastating right hook, now in his next bout his opponent's so preoccupied by the threat of that right that he gets beaten down by a flurry of left-handed jabs. As for a batsman? I cannot look past Kane Williamson. It cannot be done. 

How about yourself? Any arguments?

DD - I'm going to roll with Pat Cummins if he plays which is looking likely, over Josh Hazlewood. Can't wait to see Cummins bowl and ruffle some feathers and I'm going with David Warner to bang a century which will result in a respectful ovation from the kiwis because we know cricket.

For the flight-less birds I'm going with Vettori to put in a legendary performance and Guppy, Guppy's going to hold things down as he always does at Eden Park.

I better go get my guacamole ready and load up the fridge mate, I haven't been contacted to supply peptides for this game so I've got a few days off. I'll see you on the other side chief.

WC - Yep, next time we do this the World of Cricket will be in a new place. Nothing will be the same again. I cannot wait. Talk to ya next time, Doc, and All Praise Be to Natty Mac. May he grant us sweet timing and late swing. And maybe a winning coin toss.