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New Zealand s search for
cricketing consistency is far from
over but their progression across
2013 is marked considering the
capitulation for 45 in Cape Town on
Personnel-wise there has been a
restructure. Only four players --- new
skipper Brendon McCullum, Kane
Williamson, B J Watling and Trent
Boult --- from the Cape Town XI
were in the side which defeated the
West Indies yesterday. Ross Taylor
missed the tour after the captaincy
saga, Tim Southee was recovering
from an injured thumb and Peter
Fulton s knee had flared up.
Corey Anderson, Hamish
Rutherford, Ish Sodhi and Neil
Wagner have since fought into
contention over Dean Brownlie,
James Franklin, Daniel Flynn,
Martin Guptill, Jeetan Patel
and the retired Chris Martin.
e incumbents are worthy of
Almost a year on, it is hard to think
of a stronger current New Zealand
side which could have played at
Seddon Park and the Basin Reser ve.
Daniel Vettori would come into
consideration, but Sodhi is making
progress. rowing him in against
the spin-playing prowess of India is
a risk to be considered. Jesse Ryder
might also figure but could only
replace the captain or Anderson and
neither deserves the chop. Fulton
and Rutherford might still be under
observation but an average opening
partnership of 38.41 in 17 innings
reads strongly. Compare that to John
Wright and Bruce Edgar s 31.82 in
In short it is the makings of a
consistent core to meet India.
rowing in green pitches with
Boult and Southee in their pomp
McCullum, who secured his
second test win and first series
victory yesterday in Hamilton, is
grateful for the selection faith.
"It s early days, we have some guys
who are hungry to perform on the
world stage and match themselves
against the best players rather than
just being the best in New Zealand.
ey have the makings.
"Ross is excepted --- if he was to
retire now he d go down as one of
our all-time greats --- and I said (to
the team) we should enjoy watching
a guy like that."
e New Zealand captain hinted
the team might keep faith with
Sodhi for India, regardless of
Vettori s fitness.
"I m rapt with Ish. I know he
hasn t bowled a great deal but this
has been great for his development.
e luxury of our pace attack allows
us to have the type of (attacking)
bowler he is. I ve got a tremendous
amount of confidence in his ability,
cricket awareness and character. He s
looking forward to the India series.
"We ll have to speak to Dan to see
where he s at. I know he s managed
to get a lot of cricket recently. I
caught up with him the other day
and he looks young, fresh, fit and
healthy which is great because he s
been fighting some tough physical
McCullum said the win had not
distracted them from their climb
through the rankings to earn
Monday, December 23, 2013
ey have finally done it. After
weeks of despair and frustration,
the Wellington Phoenix have
registered their first win of the
A-League season with a 1-0
defeat of Sydney FC at Westpac
Stadium last night.
After six losses and four
draws heading in to the game,
Ernie Merrick s side will have
been given some much-needed
confidence with the result.
e win was tinged with some
disappointment though as striker
Paul Ifill was carted off in the
second half with what looked
like a serious leg injury.
Wellington welcomed back
midfielder Carlos Hernandez for
the game after the Costa Rican
international missed ursday s
1-0 loss to the Central Coast
Mariners with a quadriceps
injury. Hernandez has also been
the subject of recent speculation
surrounding how happy he is
at the club as he waits on his
family to arrive from Costa
Rica, but those concerns didn t
appear to be a factor as he suited
up today. Phoenix coach Ernie
Merrick also made a tough call
by dropping the out-of-form
Jeremy Brockie for the veteran
Ifill after the latter had displayed
good energy from the bench in
Sydney were nearly gifted the
lead inside the first 10 minutes
but Joel Chianese couldn t finish
with an open goal at his mercy.
After enjoying a collection of
decent chances during the first
half an hour, the Phoenix finally
broke the shackles via Stein
Huysegems in the 33rd minute.
e former Belgian
international had spurned a
couple of earlier opportunities
but did not need any further
invitations as he linked nicely
with Hernandez to round
Sydney goalkeeper Vedran
Janjetovic to collect his third
goal of the season.
Huysegems made a beeline to
the Phoenix bench to celebrate
as they welcomed him with
open arms. e goal was due
reward for Wellington who had
the better of the first spell and
defended well during a ner vous
final few minutes to take their
1-0 lead to the break.
e home side were then dealt
a major blow only minutes in
to the second spell when Ifill
was taken from the field on
a stretcher with a suspected
Achilles tendon injury.
e former Barbados
international hit the deck with
nobody impeding him and
immediately signalled to the
bench in agony, which brought
Brockie in to the fold.
Sydney enjoyed a nice patch of
possession to begin the second
half and the Phoenix were forced
to take cover and defend, which
they did strongly with captain
Andrew Durante leading the
Hernandez had the
opportunity to ice the game
when he combined with
Huysegems again in the 65th
minute but his shot was saved by
Wellington were able to shut
down Sydney for much of the
game as the visitors regularly
tried to play the ball out from
the back but lacked fluency with
In the end it was Wellington s
night as Merrick was given his
first win as Phoenix coach.
It took golfer Rocco Mediate only
a matter of minutes to decide he was
going to play in next year s New Zealand
After receiving a text message from
Champions Tour communications
director Mark Williams inquiring about
his interest in a trip Down Under, the
six-time PGA Tour winner talked it
over with his fiancee and they quickly
arrived at a conclusion.
"I told Jessica I got invited to New
Zealand and we looked at it and I
thought that s kind of neat . I ve never
been there and I ve never even been near
there," Mediate told the Herald from
"So it was probably a done deal then
we looked up where it was, the weather
and all that stuff and it was finished. It
took about five minutes."
Mediate, who is perhaps best known
for taking Tiger Woods to the brink
during the 2008 US Open where he lost
in a sudden-death play-off hole after
they were still level following an extra
18 holes, will add a nice touch to next
year s field.
e tournament, which runs from
February 27 to March 2, has been
revamped to take on the pro-am format
in 2014 with players contesting a round
at e Hills and the nearby Millbrook
Resort before the third and fourth
rounds take place at e Hills.
"I ve always liked those. It s kind of like
our one over here at Pebble Beach that
we play. It ll be fun," Mediate said of the
"I enjoy interacting anyway so I ll have
a blast with it. I m just looking forward
to coming over and playing in a different
place, a whole different world really. It s
a great opportunity just to come over
and see it and meet people and hang out.
It s going to be great."
Mediate, who will tie the knot with
his fiancee in Hawaii next month,
lost his PGA Tour card last year and
the 51-year-old spent 2013 on the
Champion s Tour where he was a two-
time winner, finished 10th on the money
list and was named Rookie of the Year.
His last win on the PGA Tour came
in 2010 at the Frys.com Open and he
will have a limited number of starts on
the main circuit this year, as he does not
hold full status.
But Mediate is not coming to
Queenstown for a holiday.
"I m better than I ve ever been. A lot
of us are at this age, believe it or not,"
he said. "It s just a matter of getting it
done that certain week or month or
year. ere s really no difference. I m 51
instead of 31 but I don t feel 51, so that s
cool. I certainly hope to compete. at s
Although he may have to fit some
study in around the courses at some
"I hear it s just gorgeous. I ll take a look
at it online soon but I haven t looked at
ere is a host of top New Zealand
professionals already locked in for the
New Zealand Open with Michael
Hendry, Mark Brown, Greg Turner and
Josh Geary confirmed in the field.
Australians Scott Strange, Peter
O Malley and Craig Parry will also line
up at the tournament while more big
names are likely to be added to the PGA
Tour of Australasia event in the coming
e West Indies badly need some
good news, so here it is, with a small
qualification: Chris Gayle is likely
heading to New Zealand for the two
T20 internationals next month.
e champion lefthand opener has
been missing from the New Zealand
tour with a hamstring tear. He will
not make the ODI series, either, but
coach Ottis Gibson suggested a late
Gayle visit is in prospect. However, it
is more likely that Gayle will decide
if Gayle comes to New Zealand, that
being the way things happen in the
sometimes baffling world of West
After yesterday s eight-wicket
loss, and 2-0 series defeat, the West
Indies probably cannot wait for
one-day reinforcements to settle in,
starting at Eden Park on Boxing
e shorter form is their better
game at the moment. ey are
world T20 champions and have
players who bring zing to the
50-over game too. eir test cricket
is in a mess, which is not to say New
Zealand s back-to-back wins should
be done down. --- APNZ
Core NZ players
Gayle forecast adds some cheer
Phoenix win at last
PICTURE: Getty Images
Phoenix s goal scorer Stein Huysegems celebrates after
the final whistle in last night s games against Sydney FC
at Westpac Stadium, in Wellington.
Mediate to contest New Zealand Open
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