A Nichey Niche Convo

Sometimes the Diggity Doc and the Wildcard talk to each other...

Diggity Doc - Mr Wildcard, it's been a while. The peptide business has been busy, I'm excessively rich at the moment while Cronulla Sharks are disgusted with the not guilty verdict of fellow ASADA victims Essendon in the AFL. Like I said, the peptide business has my pockets lined but there's an emptiness in my heart, a lack of cricket.

Wildcard - Ah, those silly Sharkies. All complaints now, "we only plead guilty to get it over with!" And also because you were guilty. Yeah, if only there was more cricket to bury such desperate headlines. I guess we've had a few though, just not the on-field stuff. Prince Kane swept the cricket awards, player of the year in all three formats, while Captain Mac won the overall gong. Martin Crowe made a beautiful speech. We lost two great servants of NZ cricket with the retirements of Daniel Vettori and Kyle Mills. Seriously, between those two they've taken 8% of the total ODI wickets for NZ ever. But dammit, now we have to wait til the England tour in two months. Apparently there's an IPL coming. After that World Cup though, that's like following an immaculately prepared steak dinner with a desert of raw beans.

DD - Excuse my cynical nature but I didn't really care about the cricket awards before this World Cup effort and I'm pretty sure 80% of Aotearoa didn't either, so why would I now? Because our team is good? 

But, there were good vibes all round so that's nice. I reckon Vettori could have got 10% off all our ODI wickets himself if he was on the park a bit more. That would have been slightly cray cray.

Steak, raw beans and then the English tour is going to go down like a roast chicken, it's going to be fantastic. That IPL though is going to be very interesting, we've got quite a few lads involved and it's going to be a good measuring stick of how good our cricketers are.

WC - So cynical, Doc. The awards are a massively important occasion for reminding Kane Williamson that he's The Chosen One of NZ cricket. Even if he'd much rather be batting than standing on stage in front of everyone. 

To be honest, I think it's only in the last few years that Vettori's injuries have slowed him down. He played below 100% for ages, he's always had a bad back, but he's hardly Cairns or Oram. Our most capped test player of all time, remember. It's funny how much recent history can change the narrative, just look at Brendon McCullum. Remember when people hated him and blamed him for everything? Then he scored a triple-century and the great renaissance of his career began.

I expect I'll watch a bit of IPL if it's on telly but T20 just ain't my bag. It's all the action from a one-dayer cut and pasted together, leaving the quiet moments behind. But the quiet moments are the best bits. Imagine if The Godfather was just 15 minutes of mafia hits and dead cops. That's T20 for ya.

DD - Yeah I get ya but what's if Vettori played consistently over the past 2-4 years? He'd be sitting by himself on the throne, I'd be fetching him a beverage of his choice and you'd be cleaning his spectacles. 

Let's be honest, that's the best description of T20 cricket that I've ever heard. So congrats to you mate.

Do you think that we've just used to Steven Adams performing well pretty much every game in the NBA? Like the dude is in his 2nd season and continues to put up very good numbers, but might miss a few games with his injury. How are you feeling about Steve?

WC - Ooh, don't make me crack the numbers, but I don't think he'd have caught Richard Hadlee even still. After all, despite the tallies he did pick up, Dan Vettori was never a huge wicket taker. I'd walk over hot coals and broken glass to clean his spectacles though. 

Yeah, it was such a boost when Steven Adams first broke through into the NBA, especially since he did it so quickly despite the odds. And he's not just doing okay either, he's consistently improving, playing now better than he ever has before. I watched his last game, a tight loss in a crazy high-scorer to Dallas (Go the Mavs!), and he guarded Dirk Nowitzki. Did a good job of it too. How many second year players can handle that gig? With Serge Ibaka injured, Adams has to take on those roles, he's their best available big defender now. The offensive load is more than covered by Enes Kanter, so that pressure's off and he seems like he's really getting comfortable at this level. It sounds like his ankle thing is a game-time decision too, so he possibly won't miss any games, although even if he does I see he's got a future as a condiments waiter.

DD - Do we ask for assistance from god, jah, buddha and allah that Kevin Durant stays with the Oklahoma City Thunder? Next year he'll be there so the Thunder and Steve will have a chance at being very good, but having Durant there for a few more years while Steve continues to improve will be huge ... right?

WC - I think they're already pretty good. I don't think it really matters who's around him because his game isn't one that necessarily needs enablers. The bonus is more for us if that means that we get to see him doing cool things in the NBA Finals someday. You just know that with the added media coverage of that stage that one of the American TV channels will do a feature on him and his kiwi heritage and massive family. Which will no doubt be hilarious from our perspective.

Dallas fouled him late in that game so that he'd shoot free throws and they'd get the ball out of Westbrook's hands. The same Hack-A-Shaq/Hack-A-Howard/Rugby-Tackle-A-DeAndre-Jordan strategy that we keep seeing, something Adams might have to get used to in a team full of shooters (he's a 55% career FT shooter, so there are improvements there to be made). The commentators decided they'd call it ''Bruise A Kiwi", which they thought was hilarious. But only because they think of the fruit when they hear kiwi, we think of an endangered and iconic bird. Entirely inappropriate.

DD - Well with Kevin Durant they'll at least be balls deep in playoffs basketball, which is better than where they currently sit. Bruise a kiwi? Jeepers, now we know why the kiwi never wanted to fly and is currently endangered, fucking yanks.

What's got you exciting sporting wise this Easter weekend?

WC - Yeah, but tell ya what, Golden State vs OKC in round one is gonna be something else! As for the weekend well, mate, it's gotta be the return of Premier League football. I saw a thing before, it said that Arsenal have taken more points than any other team in 2015, ahead of Liverpool and ManYoo. City way back in eighth. But Liverpool and the Gunners are playing at The Emirates this weekend, so United are primed to close that gap. There's nothing like an international break to reinvigorate the love for the club stuff. You feeling confident as an Arsenal fan there Doc? Because that's usually the best sign from the AFC fanbase that a bad result is coming up...

DD - The old EPL aye? Mate I'm pretty distant with the EPL at this stage, it's definitely taken a backseat with all the sporting kerfuffle that has been served up to us lately. Being confident is never good for an Arsenal fan as you said, so I don't really know. I don't really know much, are Chelsea still dominating?

WC - Well they've been on break for a week so not much has changed in the short-term. Chelsea still on top with a game in hand, all that's happened in the last month is Manchester United finding some dominant form and Juan Mata dealing it out in Liverpool's faces. Stevie G got sent off, you remember that. Nothing's happened since. That was the last international break of the season though, this is where they round the bend into the home straight. Not a bad time to get back on-board.

DD - Alright you got me, so Chelsea aren't signed, sealed and delivered? Like, Arsenal can still get a few wins with Olivier Giroud knocking goals in like the nonchalant Frenchman that he is?

WC - Maaaybe. But they'd need Chelsea to slip up a few times on their own, and they don't have the Champions League distraction either. But hey, you've still got the FA Cup to play for.

DD - Yeah, at least we're in the mix for trophies which is always nice. Here ya go, we'll finish on this - give me 5 players who have impressed you so far this EPL season? Guys who aren't established stars.

WC - Obviously Harry Hotspur Kane is numero uno. After that... hmm. I guess Mary Fellaini deserves credit for saving him Man Utd career, even if he ain't the prettiest player in the world to watch. Christian Eriksen at Spurs has also been great, he's thriving under Pochettino, with more goals complimenting an improved work-rate. I like young master Francis Coquelin and what he's done for Arsenal. Not all that refined but he holds a position well and can mop up nicely which gives guys like Ozil and Sanchez more licence to do what they do best and get forward. And I'll cap it off with Emre Can of Liverpool. Not convinced he's the most capable central defender, his long term worth will be in the midfield, but until LFC buy a defender that can pass the ball he's holding that fort, and just like Coquelin, he's doing the hard yards so others can thrive.

DD - There we go, I'll note those guys down as they won't need peptides when I embark on my business trip to the Motherland. May all your Easter eggs bring you joy, or whatever vice you partake in.

WC - Joy is most certainly my vice, Doc. Have a pleasant Easter yourself, don't do anything Jesus wouldn't do.