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Saturday, December 21, 2013
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Jackson Bird celebrates after bowling out Jos Buttler of the Renegades during the Big Bash League
match between the Melbourne Stars and the Melbourne Renegades last night at the Melbourne Cricket
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Chanderpaul class act
of the New Zealand Herald
e unorthodoxy of Shivnarine
Chanderpaul is a myth.
Sure, his batting deportment looks a
touch loopy up to the point where the
bowler releases the ball --- the front-
on stance, the trigger to move the
back foot across, the effort to get more
side-on, the adjustment of the bat into
en, when the bowling arm releases,
bang, he is in perfect alignment.
He lets the ball come to him, plays it
under his eyes, works it into gaps and
punishes on occasion.
Singles and twos splay like severed
electrical wires through the leg side
of his wagon wheel; boundaries were
chimed anywhere on the clock face on
his way to a 29th century in his 153rd
is could be the last time fans
get to see the Guyanese guru nudge
and nurdle his way to a century in
New Zealand. Sir Viv Richards he
is not, nor is he Brian Lara, but as
an accumulator he is unsurpassed.
Statistics such as 11,199 runs at
an average of 52.09 across 260 test
innings reinforce his credentials. At
39-years-old he remains a fixture in
the West Indies team.
Perhaps his efforts need further
His 122 not out saw him overtake
Allan Border into sixth on the test
runs honours board. He now has
17 unbeaten centuries, the most of
any test player, overtaking Sachin
Tendulkar s 16.
e moment at Seddon Park took
its toll, too. Upon reaching his second
century against New Zealand with a
cut through gully, Chanderpaul knelt
and gave the pitch a peck on its
ere was a symbiotic relationship
with the tail too. Veerasammy Permaul
added 20 at a run a ball followed by a
sparky 25 from Tino Best. e 10th
wicket partnership of 35 broke the
record set in 1971-72 by Grayson
Shillingford and Mike Findlay.
Chanderpaul is undemonstrative by
nature but beamed when he spoke of
"It reflected the things we have
talked about all season. Here and in
India we ve been struggling to get
starts and go on. We ve talked about
batsmen getting hundreds and we ve
done it in this game.
"It s a fantastic effort from Ramdin
and myself to get us up. From having
a good start, then losing so many
wickets in the second session we ve
managed to get the team into a decent
e effort by the West Indies veteran
was not lost on New Zealand vice-
captain Kane Williamson.
"He s a class act. You can learn a lot
from a player like that, the way he
constructs an innings. He s a player
who always seems to have just got to
the crease but then you look up to see
he s on 30 or 40."
Chanderpaul was delighted with the
Hamilton pitch, especially the turn
generated by Sunil Narine on just the
"You could say I wish we had wickets
as good as these in the Caribbean," he
He was less forthcoming on where
his latest feats place him in the
pantheon of great batsmen.
"AB (Allan Border) is a great man
and scored a lot of runs against us
when we had a lot of fast bowlers. I m
happy to get up there amongst some
Chanderpaul is closing in on the
West Indian record for test runs.
Lara scored 11,953 at 52.88 in 232
Let the holy war begin. e holy war of
cricket, that is.
e Church of England today formally
took up the Vatican s challenge to settle
scores on the cricket pitch nearly 500 years
after the two Churches split.
Last October, the Vatican formed the St
Peter s Cricket Club, a league composed
of teams of priests and seminarians from
Catholic colleges and seminaries in Rome.
e best players will form a Vatican team,
called the "Vatican XI," and challenged the
Church of England to form its own team of
Anglican priests and seminarians to play in
London at Lord s, the home of cricket.
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby,
head of the 80 million strong worldwide
Anglican communion, accepted through his
representative to the Vatican, Archbishop
Moxon said plans were for the match to
be held at Lord s in September after the
Anglican side puts together a similar team
of amateurs from Lambeth Palace, the
residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury,
and nearby theological schools.
Father Eamonn O Higgins, a priest who is
organising the Vatican side, gave Moxon the
ball that will be used in the match.
Moxon took a dig at Australia, who
thrashed England 3-0 to win back the
Ashes trophy earlier this week. "He (the
Archbishop of Canterbury) also wanted me
to say quite emphatically that in receiving
this challenge he has actually forgiven the
Australian cricket team," Moxon said.
e Vatican team will be made up of
seminarians and priests in Rome from
countries with a cricket tradition --- India,
Pakistan, Australia, England, Bangladesh
and New Zealand.
Asked if a combination of sports
diplomacy and inter-religious dialogue
could help improve relations between the
two Churches, which split in 1534 when
King Henry VIII broke with Rome, Moxon
said: "It will introduce a conversation piece
all over the world whenever Catholics and
Anglicans get together," he said. "I think it
can only do good and increase the bonds of
affection we have for each other."
e Vatican side will be coached by
Brother K M Joseph, an Indian who trained
a number of future test players while they
were at schools run by his religious order in
e Vatican team will wear the official
colours of the tiny city-state --- yellow and
white --- and their jackets will have the seal
of the papacy, two crossed keys.
By all accounts Pope Francis is not much
of a cricket man. He still supports the San
Lorenzo football club of his native Buenos
Aires, who came to Rome this week to give
him the league trophy they won last Sunday.
"But I think this is something that goes
in line with one of the objectives of Pope
Francis, which is to reach out and not stay
within our own security zone," O Higgins
e idea for a Catholic cricket club was
the brainchild of John McCarthy, Australia s
ambassador to the Vatican. He wanted to
see something similar to the Clericus Cup,
a soccer tournament among the religious
colleges and seminaries of Rome.
Most of the practice for the Vatican team
will take place on the grounds of seminaries
in Rome but McCarthy, a cricket fanatic,
said he had a dream.
"I would suggest that at least on one
occasion there would be batting practice in
front of St Peter s Basilica."
When a reporter suggested that, given
the historical baggage both Churches are
carrying, the umpire should perhaps be
a Muslim, a Jew or even a atheist, Moxon
laughed and said: "As long as he is fair."
Paceman Jackson Bird took an
impressive first step to a national
recall with his four-wicket haul
in last night s Big Bash League
Bird hopes he can build enough
form over the coming weeks that
selectors will find a spot for him
on next February s South African
He was outstanding for the
Melbourne Stars in their easy
76-run win over local rivals the
Bird was on a hat trick and
Other than a few district matches
and some warm-up contests for
the BBL, Friday night was also
Bird s first game of cricket since
he injured his back in August
during the Ashes tour.
Asked if he can make the South
African squad, Bird replied:
"Absolutely --- I ve been bowling
for eight weeks now.
"After this week, I m available
for selection for all formats.
Hopefully, if I can get through
this Big Bash and stay fit, I can get
a trip to South Africa.
"But in saying that, I have six or
seven games for the Stars to think
about and if I don t go to South
Africa, I have four games for
Bird s impeccable line and length
last night showed why he broke
into the Test team a year ago.
After some initial nerves, he
settled into a strong rhythm and
impressed Renegades captain
"He bowling very well --- his
consistency was fantastic," Finch
said. "He hit the wicket hard,
made it hard for us, so he made us
hit good ballls if we were going to
" at s what you want from your
main fast bowler ... to really lead
"He was brilliant."
Since the injury in England, Bird
has worked hard on his bowling
action and is confident the back
problem is now in check.
"It gets a little bit stiff, but I ve
injured it enough times now to
know what is good and bad pain,"
he said post-match.
Bird also has no ill feelings
that he has missed out on this
summer s domination of England
in the return Ashes series.
"You want to be out there
playing, but to see the guys do
so well and win the first three
tests in the fashion they did, it s
great for Australian cricket," Bird
"I m just happy for the boys and
hopefully we can get 5-0."
Bird eyes test recall
Australia s Ashes triumph has
been cast as a fairytale swansong
for an ageing team, but 34-year-
old paceman Ryan Harris has
urged selectors not to pension off
the greybeards needlessly.
Six of the 11 that trounced
England in three straight
matches to win back the coveted
urn are over 30, and Australia
may bring a very different team
for the next Ashes in 2015.
Former coach Mickey Arthur,
who was sacked before the
first of the back-to-back Ashes
series in England, cast doubt
on the longevity of some of the
players, including 32-year-old
captain Michael Clarke, who is
managing a back condition.
"I read Mickey Arthur s
comments about the need to
rebuild, and I don t really want
to get into it because I don t
want to start another furore.
But I think he s wrong," Harris
said in a column published by
Melbourne s e Age newspaper
"If you re older and you re good
enough to play at this level, then
you should be picked.
"If you nick off all your old
blokes, who are the younger ones
going to learn from?"
Australia s selectors have
traditionally been the whipping
boys of a feisty local media,
but were universally slammed
for dumping opening batsman
Simon Katich at the age of 35
after he suffered an injury during
the 2010-11 Ashes series.
His anointed replacement
Phillip Hughes, 13 years his
junior, failed to cement his place
despite being handed multiple
A litany of injuries has forced
Harris to take time to accumulate
his 19 test appearances, but his
excellent form in the Ashes, as
the leading wicket-taker in the
northern series and 12 wickets
Down Under, has justified
selectors patience with his fitness
Harris is still battling to recover
from a knee injury but said his
surgeon was "shocked" at how
well he was progressing.
"I don t know what s going to
happen with my knee," he said.
"I play every test like it s my
last. I know the end is close but
whether it s next week after the
Melbourne test or whether it s in
two years, I don t know."
Australia play England in the
fourth test in Melbourne starting
on December 26. --- Reuters
Taking the law of averages into account, the
Wellington Phoenix should beat someone
5-0 in the next couple of games.
A team just simply cannot create as many
chances as they have in the past few weeks
without finishing them.
Penalties, open goals, speculative efforts ---
they have missed them all either by hitting
them straight at the keeper, some sharp saves
or their own lack of execution.
It was the same story on ursday night
when Wellington had the better of the
Central Coast Mariners at the North Sydney
Oval but came home with a 1-0 loss.
Wellington had 16 total shots --- 10 of
which were on target --- to the Mariners 11,
while Central Coast gloveman Liam Reddy
also saved a second-half penalty from Stein
Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick has admitted
he is frustrated with his side s inability to find
the back of the net but has continued to take
the positives out of their near-misses.
Wellington host Sydney FC at Westpac
Stadium tomorrow in a game that almost
shapes as a must-win if they want to start
their journey towards the play-offs.
It has become nearly comical how unlucky
--- or bad --- the Phoenix have been in front
of goal but Merrick remains upbeat.
"I think law of averages is a nonsense,"
"I don t believe in Newton s (laws of
motion) either now the way things are going
and Einstein got it all wrong."
Taking the science out of it, Wellington
have to be more clinical when the pressure is
on in front of goal tomorrow.
ey have scored only nine times in 10
games this season, one of which was a penalty
from Carlos Hernandez, and the likes of
Jeremy Brockie and Huysegems need to
provide Merrick with more.
Brockie has butchered two golden chances
in the past couple of games and his confidence
has clearly taken a hit since he had a penalty
saved when playing for the All Whites
against Mexico last month.
Huysegems has looked strangely lethargic
when shooting in recent weeks and he has
continued to succeed in only hitting his shots
straight at opposition goalkeepers.
Hernandez missed the loss to the Mariners
due to a thigh injury but Merrick remained
confident he would play against Sydney FC
tomorrow, despite suggestions the Costa
Rican is unhappy with the club due to the
delayed arrival of his family to Wellington.
For all of Wellington s struggles on attack,
Merrick seems reluctant to delve in to the
free-agent market and has ruled out signing
All Whites midfielder Chris James, who
scored twice against Mexico last month.
Merrick also stubbed out suggestions that
Kris Bright could be coming to Wellington.
Bright, a well-travelled 27-year-old striker
who has appeared six times for New Zealand
at senior level, is currently in Auckland on
holiday and is looking for a new club after
his contract recently wound up with Finnish
Premier Division outfit IFK Mariehamn.
"We haven t been looking at Kris Bright
and I am pretty sure if someone comes up
in January it will be unusual," Merrick said.
"I m pretty happy to work with the squad that
we ve got, I think we ve got a good squad."
Merrick s faith in his troops cannot be
questioned but right now they re a squad
without a win from 10 games this season
and are anchored in the bottom tier of the
A-League ladder. --- APNZ
Selectors urged not to pension off oldies
Phoenix can t keep missing
PICTURE: Getty Images
Shivarine Chanderpaul plays a shot in yesterday s test innings.
Cricket holy war on as Anglican s
accept Vatican challenge
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