Thursday, January 25, 2007

McMillan - Out (again)

A fourth obsession of mine is cricket, so for those of you who don't appreciate the great summer game, perhaps skip to the next post.

Cactus Kate has started a campaign of persecution against New Zealand batsman Craig McMillan. As far as campaigns of persecution go, this one is relatively justified.

McMillan’s stats simply don’t stack up. His average, and conversion rate to match winning 50s and 100s are just too low, even when put alongside the rest of the under-performing New Zealand top order.

Most critically in my view, McMillan has failed to develop as a player. Although the available records don’t allow for this, I am quite sure that a season by season analysis would show that his figures have not significantly improved, if at all, over the decade he has spent in the national team.

McMillan consistently plays with the same reckless abandon that is guaranteed to get him out for an insignificant score 7 times out of ten. With a decade of top flight coaching and experience he has failed to apply himself and remedy basic errors in his game such as his inability to leave good balls just outside the off-stump. Time and time again he is dismissed mindlessly wafting at balls that a more focused player would recognise as hard to play, and leave.

This happened repeatedly in his innings of 89 last week, and it was only a matter of luck that he was not given out caught behind while still in single figures. This lack of self-assessment and willingness to apply himself to improving his game is in my view the main reason he should not continue to be selected. It’s a pity because McMillan has some real batting talent, and when in form he sees the ball like a watermelon.

For several years now, my view has been that the logical replacement for McMillan in the team is Scott Styris. While is batting average is far from stellar yet, he shows signs of application and improvement. Critically too, in his shorter international career, he has been far more effective at turning starts into match winning hundreds – something the New Zealand team (a scratchy win over England notwithstanding) desperately needs.


Cactus Kate said...

Michael my appreciation of you as a person has shot up.

You actually appreciate cricket.

It's a miracle.

Single Malt Social Democrat said...

Frankly, a small potted cactus could replace McMillan. It would probably have a better average, and if we could get Ponting or McGrath to sit on it, they might rule themselves out of the tournament, thus dramatically improving our odds in the tri-series.

Also, we could send it to the world cup as hand luggage, thus saving an airfare, which we could use to try and find a decent opener. Finally, a small potted cactus would be a net producer of oxygen, unlike mcMillan

Tony Milne said...

Styris is a far superior player to McMillan. I'd have him in my team ahead of McMillan any day. You're analysis is one that is shared by most people who observe the game - so why not the selectors?

Michael Wood said...

Yes Kate, in between sessions of cringlingly wringing my hands because I didn't get a working class suburb on the (asinine) 8 tribes test, and staring dreamily at pictures of the 1999 Labour cabinet, my pursuits are relatively normal!

Consider my appreciation of you to, likewise, have increased.

RJ said...

Any update on your view?