Wednesday, 15 May 2013


Test cricket in the frozen northlands resumes with the first of the 2 match series between England and New Zealand getting underway at Lords.  This is bad news for cricket lovers for it means Fantasy Bob has to resume his unmatchable commentaries on Test events.

These have been legendary in sowing seeds of confusion and doubt in cricket fans across the world.  Marriages have split apart over disagreements about the finer points of FB's analysis.  Share prices in international markets have tumbled. There have been calls for a referendum on EU membership.  So with 7 Tests including the Ashes and a whole lot of unnecessary ODIing and T20ing also to fit in the danger signs are clear.   Cricket fans will be looking to FB for guidance. Insurance premiums for everything seem likely to soar.

FB has no idea why England are playing New Zealand now.  (See this is the kind of punditry that gets them talking - usually about something else).  Not that he has anything against New Zealand but the sides last met in March which is so recent that even FB remembers it.  England of course went to NZ on the back of a convincing thrashing of India and, complacently denying that they were complacent, complacently underestimated their opponents and got away with a drawn series by the skin of their teeth.
Hamish Rutherford's Test debut
The first match throws up an interesting set of questions - how will England cope without Kevin Pietersen still nursing his bruised knee bone.  Will Swann's elbow operation restore the magic.  The same for Bresnan.  Can Compton deliver at home?  Is Root as good as he looks?  Will NZ play without a front line spinner?  All very good questions, to which FB most certainly has no answer.

FB is looking forward to seeing how NZ opener Hamish Rutherford performs.  A man could barely make up a more Scottish name. There must be Border Riever genes there and Rutherford has had a few seasons in his real homeland having done stints at Scottish clubs Stenhousemuir and Ayr.

Rutherford burst onto the Test scene in March with 171 on debut against England. Hamish's father Ken, a former NZ skipper, had a more measured start to his test career.  It took him 17 innings to accumulate the number of runs that his son managed in one visit.  The younger generation you see - not prepared to wait.

Rutherford takes the field with no fewer than 4 other players who have similarly made a century on their Test debut.  FB is sure that this is a record, even if it is only for Test at Lords in May.

Rutherford's team mate Kane Williamson made 131 at Ahmedabad in November 2010 to mark his arrival.   And there three maiden centurions in England's ranks - Jonathan Trott - 119 against Australia at the Oval in August 2009, Matt Prior - 126* against the West Indies at Lords in May 2007 and Alistair Cook - 104* at Nagpur in March 2006.

Ernest Rutherford
England might do well to remind themselves that Kiwi Rutherfords coming to England have a history of doing well for themselves.In 1894 Ernest Rutherford, son of a Scottish father, arrived from his sheep farming background to take up scholarship to Cambridge University.  In 1908, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, an achievement on a par with scoring a century in your first test innings . In 1914, he was knighted. He then went on to make essential discoveries which lead to controlled nuclear reaction and was the founding father of nuclear physics.  He was awarded a peerage in 1931 and is buried in Westminster Abbey. In 1997, the 'rutherford', a unit of radioactivity, was named in his honour.  He is most probably the most historically significant New Zealander ever.

Although FB has been unable to trace any familial relation between Ernest and Hamish - that is the legacy of the fine Scottish name that Hamish has to live up to.

FB wishes him well.

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