New Zealand witness a perfect stellar eclipse

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Poor New Zealand. In recent times, they have slowly been putting together a solid side. Since losing to England last year, they have drawn one Test series and won three. They have one of the more promising seam attacks around and have even found a few batsmen. Now they find themselves up against a happy, determined, organised, well prepared, in-form Pakistan.

What are the chances?

Do stars align? We’ve never really understood that saying and not solely because we fail to see the link between the relative positions of celestial bodies and events on Earth. Does it literally mean some stars appearing in a straight line? Why is that a good thing?

However rare an event star alignment is, Pakistan’s current status is rarer still. It’s like all the planets and stars – every last one of them – getting into a giant, intergalactic queue. It’ll never happen again and nor can it last.

At the time of writing, Pakistan are 347-1 and Brendon McCullum’s already had a bowl. New Zealand are really up against it and they haven’t even caught sight of Younus Khan yet.


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. That was pretty much our reaction.

      You’re on 176 and you’re going to get out hit wicket? You know, it’s your choice and everything, but…

    2. Frankly I’m astonished that Pakistani players make up such a small proportion of handled the ball dismissals. I reckon they should view that 11% figure as being in the realms of “needs improvement, must try harder”.

    3. Every time I see that scorecard I’m surprised Richards didn’t bowl at all while Lloyd got through his full 12 overs. Can anyone remember how that happened?

    4. Not sure how to answer that question, Bailout.

      Richards had only just started his international career the winter before – that World Cup was his first experience of ODI cricket.

      He was only an occasional bowler, whereas Clive Lloyd was perceived as a solid squeezing option in ODI terms – and so it proved in that World Cup final, with the best economy rate of all bowlers in the match.

      Had Hubert not been captain, I think the alternative skipper would have struggled to get the ball out of Hubert’s hands.

      I was struggling with bigger battles by that stage of the match in any case. There was a golden rule in our household that TV could NEVER be the reason for not sitting down with the family at meal times. But this was the first World Cup final and there would never ever be another first World Cup final ever again. Ever. Wasn’t it obvious that, just for once, food could wait. I think it might have been gone 20:00 when the match ended. 120 overs in a day is some ask.

    5. Ta for that. My mental image of Lloyd is that he was part-timier than Richards as a bowling option – which is probably about right for his career in aggregate, but shows how perceptions were different when put into the context of time.

      I remember when Bell was coming to attention as a young player, a lot of commentators seemed to think he’d eke out a slot in the England ODI squad as an innings-building batsman who would take some of the over load with his medium pace. Looks a weird prediction looking back at it, but he bowled a bit in county cricket at the time, and there has been quite a succession of players brought in to fulfill the hypothesised role.

  1. I’m well into all this astrology shit, let me tell you. It takes the pressure off living. Late for work – stars. Forgot to get the washing out – stars. In trouble for stealing all the chocolate bars in the fridge – Milky Way in Uranus or something.

    Anyway, the thing they never tell you about the stars aligning is what they are aligning with. In fact, they are aligning with you. That’s why it has such a huge effect on your life, because it’s all about you. When the stars align, it means that there are a series of straight lines between you and all the stars. Sometimes this happens with the planets as well. Imagine, every single one of the universe’s vast array of matter clumps all connected directly to you with straight lines. What are the chances, eh?

    And don’t give me any of your curved-lines-in-spacetime crap either, or the fact that a lorry going past your house exerts more gravitational pull on you than the nearest planet. How does any of that explain Pakistan’s batting? It doesn’t, that’s how, and as Einstein famously said, any explanation is better than no explanation.

    1. If you stole the milky way then surely you are estopped from saying it’s in Uranus, though I might very well level that accusation.

      Anyway who took my galaxy?

  2. I’m going to say what I did under the last post, because it actually applies to this one:

    “Are Pakistan allowed to call the UAE “a neutral venue” still? Because it certainly isn’t seeming like one.

    I know that the Kiwis don’t have the best attack in the world, especially with Southee and Boult neutralised, but come on! Hafeez getting 96 “away”? Surely not.”

  3. Getting quite (sadly) excited as, provided NZ bat reasonably competently, Misbah has the chance to do what Younus couldn’t manage last time out and no-one has ever done in test cricket – hit hundreds in both innings of consecutive tests. ooooooh. someone calm me down.

  4. In other news, stirring rhetoric from the BCCI:

    “Virat Kohli will lead India in the first Test, starting on 4 December 2014, in Brisbane.

    “MS Dhoni has been rested for the first Test as a prophylactic measure to ensure optimum recovery.

    “He will join the team from the second Test onwards, and will lead the team for the rest of the Test series.”

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