Black Caps take 2019 highs and lows

Black Caps in action at Bay Oval

It is not easy being a Black Caps fan.

Over the last 12 months the team has provided the sporting highlights and lowlights, ahead of the inspirational Silver Ferns winning the Netball World Cup and the disappointing All Blacks who won nothing.

Kane Williamson’s merry band of battlers and scrappers came so close to winning the ultimate prize of the ICC Cricket World Cup on a tumultuous day at Lord’s back in July.

But they were thwarted by a severe dose of bad luck - the Ben Stokes overthrows incident in the last England batting over - before the bizarre rule to impose a Super Over to decide the tied match.

How Kane and his team handled the disappointment immediately after the match and in weeks to follow was applauded around the world and led to international awards.

Nice but it still does not stem the pain of losing the way we did.

The Black Caps also get my brickbat award for their abject performances in the Test series in Australia.

After having to wait so long to be invited to play in the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground – not since 1987 in fact – the Black Caps had their chance in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney to show their worth.

Sadly for Black Caps fans there was little joy from a series that promised so much and went downhill quickly.

I put the heat on our administrators for playing a weak England team in two Tests rather than getting our team to Australia earlier to prepare for the totally different conditions over there.

Injuries, illness and selection mistakes added to our misery.

At least we can claim the ability to prepare better pitches to play on.

What Jared Carter and his team produced at Bay Oval in November for the historic Test match against England was nothing short of a turf miracle in late winter, spring conditions.

Considering the budgets available to the curators in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney the surfaces prepared there were mostly poor with uneven bounce the major issue.

I am not getting into conspiracy theories here but the pitches prepared were tailor-made for Australia who have the best fast bowling attack in the world backed up by an outstanding off-spinner.

Or perhaps they have just forgotten the art of preparing decent wickets?

What is clear is that when India play the Black Caps at Bay Oval in a Twenty20 match on February 2 and the final ODI on February 11 the pitches will be perfect for attacking strokeplay.

If you have not got your tickets yet it would pay to do so as both games are expected to sell out.

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