New Zealand is small.
Only 4.4 million people live there.
If it were an Indian state, it would come 22nd in the list of most populous regions. It would sit meakly below Himachal Pradesh but above Tripura.
New Zealand is so small that even the Australian Constitution allows it to become a state should it ever wish to. Not because it offers vast wealth and resources to the Australian people. But because it is small and probably could do with some help.
There are only 100,000 registered cricket players in New Zealand. That number includes men, women and children. It encompasses Sunday cricketers, those that have registered but don’t play and Under 12’s.
Every registered New Zealand cricketer could be seated in the MCG.
The pool to select an international T20 squad from is therefore small.
Even its players are small.
Brendon McCullum is 171cm tall. That was deemed not small enough so he decided he shouldn’t play.
Instead, the Kiwis sent his brother Nathan. He is only 170 cm tall and therefore qualifies as small.
But the New Zealanders have worked out that small could be the key to the ICC World Twenty20.
Their opening match was being played at Nagpur. A ground renowned for small things.
The last major Test match played there had small bounce. Small match referee Jeff Crowe gave it a small score in his report. That led to a small blow up by Ravi Shastri. The small crowd that saw it only saw a small amount of cricket played over a small amount of days.
Everything in Nagpur is small.
It produces small scores.
But yesterday started with a big decision.
New Zealand’s best bowlers in Boult and Southee were not selected. They were too big for Nagpur. They would be unlikely to be rewarded for their toil. Nagpur only rewards small. What was required was small pace and small turn. New Zealand selected three small spin bowlers.
Then they batted.
126 batting first is a small score. It is even smaller when you look at the opposition. They are a gigantic mass of cricket opulence. They have auras so large that astronomers are struggling to discover new universes big enough to house them.
Ludhiana born Ish Sodhi does not have one of those auras. His aura is small. He is not part of the really big Indian team.
He bowls small turning leggies for the small country of New Zealand.
Kohli, Jadeja and Ashwin are not small names. But they are the guys Sodhi removed that justify the small number “3” being written in the wickets column next to his relatively small name.
New Zealand gave Mitch Santner the ball. He had only played a small amount of T20 internationals. Actually, only five. His bowling partner, the small McCullum had played quite a few more. There is always an outlier when dealing with small numbers.
Between them, they finished with 7-0-26-6
It reads like one of those magical Stuart Broad Test bowling spells. But it wasn’t.
It was a bunch of small names taking on a clan of the biggest names in the largest tournament being held in India this year.
And with their forced strategy of smallness, New Zealand beat India.
Not by a small margin though. It was an old fashioned thrashing. Carnage.
It is not as though India only made 79. It was more a case of New Zealand saying that is all they could have.
It was as if India was playing the role of Tibet as China invaded. There was little they could do but sit back, watch and trust that their conquerors would play nicely. New Zealand always play nicely.
New Zealand will never be anything but small. But small still has value. Small can produce results.
Small is simply five random letters of the English language constructed in such a way to give the sum of the parts greater meaning.
New Zealand is small.
Originally posted at First Post