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October 11, 2010 | by  | in Opinion |
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I don’t like cricket ah… I love it!

The majority of professional winter sport in New Zealand is finally winding towards its conclusion. With the outbreak of summer nigh and some cracking weather already being enjoyed—even in Hurricane country—it seems wrong that summer sports should still be held back by those of the winter variety. The serial offender, rugby, is gearing up for domestic finals in weeks upcoming, and following the completion of the ITM Cup (and the Heartland Championship), the likes of cricket will finally have their moment in the sun.

The domestic men’s cricket competitions will kick off in early November, with the first of three pre-Christmas Plunket Shield rounds. The Shield competition won’t end until April 2011, with the other disciplines being
contested between rounds. The one day competition will get underway in the New Year, with the opening round on 9 January, while the much hyped HRV Cup will be held throughout December, leading up to the 2 January final.

On a personal note, while I believe Twenty20 isn’t really cricket, it is certainly an excitement machine, and this season’s HRV Cup looks set to be as entertaining as ever. New Zealand cricket is, as always, keen to trumpet this aspect, and with markedly increased (SKY) television coverage this season—with 19 games to be featured from the competition—the ever increasing fan base is sure to continue its rise. Perhaps even more significantly for the competition, there looks set to once again be a classy contingent of imports
taking the field.

Canterbury and Wellington have already dipped into the international market, with both having secured one import, and looking set to sign a second. Canterbury have signed in-form Twenty20 ‘wizard’ Ryan ten Doeschate, and are keen to complement the Dutch all-rounder with Aussie expressman Shaun Tait. Meanwhile, the Firebirds have secured the services of English short-game specialist Luke Wright, and look set to add another prolific Aussie Brett Lee.

Both Wellington CEO Gavin Larsen and coach Anthony Stuart are excited by Wright’s signing, believing that the all-rounder has the ideal skill-set to compliment the Firebirds’ side in the shortest form of the game. I believe the addition of Lee would be an even greater coup, and would stand the side in good stead for the competition. Let’s just hope neither is as much of a flop as English batsman Owais Shah was last season.

Elsewhere, the Northern Knights have been perhaps the most active in the import market, with South African master blaster Herchelle Gibbs almost certain to ply his trade with the side, while the likes of dashing Aussie opener David Warner, and powerhouse all-rounders Kieron Pollard (West Indies) and Andrew Symonds (Australia) have also been linked to the province.

Meanwhile, the Otago Volts have already filled their quota with two somewhat anonymous English all-rounders—big hitting Darren Stevens, and Brendon McCullum-recommended Chris Nash—who management
believes have the skills to fill crucial voids left by last season’s import Dimitri Mascarenhas, and Black Cap Nathan McCullum who is on international duty.

The upcoming domestic cricket season looks sure to be an absolute cracker, with the international flair set to complement the local flavour. The Black Caps also have a relatively busy upcoming schedule in the lead-up to next year’s ODI World Cup—one which looks set to be equally exciting, with an abundance of
youngsters looking to stake their claims, and the imminent return of uber-talented bad boy Jesse Ryder.

I’ll leave you with the great words of our very own Th’ Dudes: “I don’t like cricket, ah… I love it, ah!”

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  1. Cricket says:

    I love cricket too! Can’t wait for the season to start!

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