Hamish McDouall's post over at publicaddress has got me thinking about what makes a balanced team. You need a couple of dead-set stars, you need a solid group of players who don't get injured and seldom have an off-day, you need consistent selection policy, confidence and form, excellent leadership and a Plan B.
To the extent that he's following my advice, Fleming probably thinks his team exhibits these characteristics and a few more besides. In him, Bond and Vettori NZ cricket has a clutch of players who are at or near the top of their class. Fleming is clearly one of the best captains of the last 5 years and, when he's playing well, he is dominating and elegant, capable of playing all around the park. Bond and Vettori deserve to be second and eighth best bowlers in One Day Internationals. In Oram, McCullum, Styris we have three players who are never intimidated but perhaps a little too injury prone (McCullum excepted). Bracewell's selections have been predictable, perhaps not Tuffey however, and form and confidence are high - particularly for the likes of McMillen and Ross Taylor.
I'm not so sure about whether or not they have a Plan B* however and possibly this explains the loss to Sri Lanka - now a run of four in a row - NZ need to revisit their strategy for Sri Lanka else win or lose tonight, they'll not progress to the final.
*I remember watching NZ play Wales in the 2002 Rugby World Cup where it was clear NZ did not have a back-up plan and Wales almost pulled off an upset win (interestingly, it seemed to me that Justin Marshall took over leadership of the team just after the second half started and Wales scored a try...).
2 days ago