The Kiwi is a fast learner

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It has to be. Unable to fly and never allowed to play more than three Tests in a series, it has to adapt quickly if it isn’t to be devoured by cats or beaten by Pakistan.

Captains and coaches always talk about learning from a defeat, but you rarely see any evidence of this. It’s just a thing you say – yet New Zealand appear to have actually improved as their tour of not-Pakistan has progressed.

First Test: Beaten so soundly you might have mistaken them for second-rate tourists, such as Australia or England

Second Test: A very creditable draw

Third Test: Almost certainly a win – and by a huge, huge margin

They even got Younus Khan out for a golden duck. Just think about that.

It’s almost as if it would be worth everyone’s while to have New Zealand play more than six Tests a year; as if having more than three teams in the world might somehow enrich the sport.

Thankfully, this will never happen. New Zealand will play two Tests against England this summer AND THEN IT’S THE ASHES AGAIN. You can’t argue with the law of supply and demand – the more of something you have, the more valuable it becomes.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


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  1. It feels like the ashes is like a tub of chocolate ice cream, one bowl is totally awesome, but then you go back for a second bowl and realise half way through that you really now just want a cup of tea.

  2. I’m sorry, KC and Micko, but I’m still really looking forward to more Ashes. Especially on British soil, where England might (MIGHT) put up a fight against the Australians. The Aussies should still be better overall (although I suspect that this depends on whether Harris’ poppadom knee has been properly sorted or patched up with chut-knee), which should lead to a close-run and fun Test series. (Now watch it be another whitewash, to one side or the other.)

    Do agree that NZ should play more Tests, though. I support them as a second team, although I’ll still be swearing at the Kiwis in my office if they pull off a win in the summer.

    1. Durian chutney? Sounds truly disgusting, Deep Cower.

      Meanwhile I endorse Balladeers main point, which is that the matter of Ashes Test excess (or not) is a separate one from the matter of Kiwi Test shortage.

      On the former, I think we can accept the general principle that the recent excess is a rarity and that the Ashes will revert to 5 tests home and five tests away each four year cycle – this feels right to me.

      As for the matter of just two tests against the Kiwis, this does not feel right. Indeed, New Zealand as the warm up act for the Ashes does not feel right. New Zealand deserves equal billing in a summer with another visiting team such as Sri Lanka, Pakistan or West Indies. We did that for a while rather successfully (by which I mean decent crowds and good cricket) – not sure why that model wasn’t continued. Certainly not a lack of competitive cricket on New Zealand’s part – they always seems to be able to punch above their weight, especially when visiting Blighty. And now, it seems, Arabia too.

  3. Opening bowlers who can work with the new ball on the sub-continent. Think about that Mitchell Johnson.

  4. The kiwi
    is supposed to be
    a bird,
    or so I’ve heard,
    that wakes at night,
    and one for whom the power of flight
    has disappeared
    (which is quite weird
    for birds, as it is true
    that flying is what most birds do).
    Unusual in its physique
    It has a beak
    of length,
    and not of little strength,
    which (as my book on them confirms)
    it uses to uncover worms.

    In cricket terms,
    the kiwi
    is supposed to be
    again, a hidden little creature,
    never to feature
    as the main and sole attraction
    of our summer of cricket action.
    A forager in the detritus,
    unable to excite us,
    unable to fly.

    I don’t know why
    this sporting nation
    has earned this unfair reputation
    as an also-ran.
    I’m sure the fan
    of Pakistan
    would disagree most strongly with this assessment,
    and know that they’re a good investment,
    a worthy opponent,
    a key component
    of a summer of sport
    we all would support.

    So we’re left with these queries
    as to why the kiwis
    are given only a two-match series,
    and are treated so badly
    that we’ll never really know when they’ve found another Hadlee.

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