And then there is the reality show elimination style all-time New Zealand test XI
It was a strange combination of a closed group imposing their chuminess on things with some comically illogical match-ups. The programme is aimed at a younger audience, which is good, but perhaps that’s not the best demographic for picking an all-time XI stretching over almost 90 years.
A lot of the positions picked themselves, but it was the strange bending of the rules, in what was quite a tight format, that has raised quite a few eyebrows. And the seeming need to make everyone happy.
Mark Richardson was the people’s choice as opener. He’ll like that, but seriously kids.
The eyebrows really got raised when it came to picking the number 5 position. Ross Taylor won that honour; despite having played < 10% of his knocks in that position. If you pick a strict format you can’t just pick it apart so that everyone is happy.
Then there is the continued and awkward airbrushing of Chris Cairns from history. Whatever he may or may not have done four years after last representing New Zealand there was never a whiff of impropriety while playing test cricket. He remains statistically our best all-rounder and should be recognised as such.
Also, this is a hypothetical team; don’t worry about Dressing Room spats.
Cairns and JR Reid were up against each other for an all-rounder position; marketed as the battle for #7. Reid played 108 test innings; two of those were at number 7. Roughly a third of Chris Cairns’s innings were in that position.
The funniest bit, however, was having Chis Martin in the play-off for the #10 batting slot. Rightly or wrongly, he is as famous for his batting as bowling, and it wasn’t for batting at No 10. That’s seriously hilarious.
Simple head-to-head battles over a series of 11 weeks makes for easy choices for people, and the USA has just elected a president based on such simplification. But purists are trying to uncurl their toes.