The Black Caps squad for June’s Champions Trophy has been announced. The full squad is: Kane Williamson (c), Corey Anderson, Trent Boult, Neil Broom, Colin de Grandhomme, Martin Guptill, Tom Latham, Mitch McClenaghan, Adam Milne, Jimmy Neesham, Jeetan Patel, Luke Ronchi, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee and Ross Taylor.
The Black Caps have a tough group to get out of. They must qualify in the top two of the pool to progress, and their group of four contains world champions Australia, home favourites England, and giant-killers Bangladesh. Finishing last is a realistic possibility.
Matt Henry might be the big omission from the squad. Over his 30-match career Henry has 58 wickets at 25.10, which makes the case for his inclusion about as compelling as the case for Trent Boult before the 2015 CWC. It is certainly a significantly better record than any of McClenaghan, Milne and even Southee.
Despite this, the Black Caps pace battery will be very strong. It looks as though the pace bowling attack will be based around Trent Boult (as could be expected up until the 2023 CWC), with Adam Milne returning to his pre-CWC injury third seamer role and one of McClenaghan or Southee sharing the new ball.
Adam Milne has the potential to be a tremendous bowler, as he has both the pace and accuracy. All he needs to learn is the subtlety that divides the cricket master from the journeyman and New Zealand will have another weapon in the bag.
Mitch McClenaghan has surprised a lot of people and continues to do so. He has been excellent for the Mumbai Indians in this season’s IPL and the Black Caps selection panel appears to believe that this white-ball success will translate well to English conditions.
English conditions will also suit the tricky Tim Southee. So in all cases, Kane Williamson knows he has 30 overs of top-drawer pace bowling available to him.
The Guptill-Williamson-Taylor axis comprises three of New Zealand’s best ODI batsmen ever and, if anything, these three players are better than the ones that took the Black Caps to a CWC final. So most of the top order picks itself.
Tom Latham is enduring a horror season with the bat, but he is still likely to open the batting alongside Guptill. His current average of just under 30 might make his place in the order look questionable, but with six Test centuries by age 25, his experience and skill against the new ball will be useful in English conditions with high levels of lateral movement.
The real selection questions are around the middle order.
The Black Caps are yet to find a dependable replacement for Grant Elliott, although the squad does include a number of possibilities. Neil Broom might be considered the front-runner for the position but Jimmy Neesham has recently been surprisingly good in the last batsman’s position.
Any number of players could take the allrounder’s position at 6. Probably the Black Caps will go with Corey Anderson, whose awful run with injuries seems to be over. Anderson, like McClenaghan, has been impressive in the IPL, and Williamson ought to be able to depend on him for four overs at least.
The other allrounder’s position at 7 is another open question. If Tom Latham opens the batting, there may be little advantage in choosing Luke Ronchi at 7, as Ronchi has been very poor with the bat for a long time and does not offer more than Latham with the gloves.
Mitchell Santner might have fallen out of favour slightly in the regard of the current set-up, and this could mean that Colin de Grandhomme takes his place as the bowling all-rounder, if the brains trust decides to go with Luke Ronchi at 7.
Given the strength of the top order with the bat, the smart thing to do might to pack the middle order with hard-hitting allrounders.
Likely team for the first match versus Australia on the 2nd of June, starting at 9.30p.m. New Zealand Time:
1. Martin Guptill
2. Tom Latham (wk)
3. Kane Williamson (c)
4. Ross Taylor
5. Neil Broom
6. Corey Anderson (5/6)
7. Colin de Grandhomme (5/6)
8. Mitchell Santner (4)
9. Mitchell McClenaghan (2)
10. Adam Milne (3)
11. Trent Boult (1)
The cozy political paradigm that most of us went into 2016 with has now been completely shattered. Way back then, there was still some vague kind of belief that it was possible to strike a meaningful compromise between the various political actors on the world stage.
Now, everyone to the left of Adolf Hitler is screaming “Nazi!” at everyone to the right of Bernie Sanders, and those people are screaming “Cuck!” right back.
This means that most people are both Nazis and cucks, depending on the degree of political fanaticism of whoever is screaming at them at any given time and to which pole that person happens to have gravitated towards.
It’s an ugly scene all round.
Simply speaking, the left is a reaction to the right. The right are the same people who naturally have all the power (namely, the orderly) and the left is a reaction to this. In particular, it is a recognition by the disorderly that they have to impose some order upon themselves or lose ground in the political battlefield.
The centre is a reaction to both the left and the right. More precisely, it is a reaction to the constant fighting that once characterised the two-party (or two-pole) system. It’s an attempt to put peacefulness above all.
The alt-right is similar. The alt-right is a reaction to the left being shit and then a counter-reaction to the right being also shit. The alt-right cannot be understood unless it is seen as a double rejection, of both the left and the right.
The alt-centre, therefore, is a rejection of all of the left and the right and the centre, not to mention the alt-right and – in anticipation of it ever standing up – the alt-left: in other words, it’s a rejection of the entire political system.
This triple rejection of tired old political dogmas makes alt-centrism the real alternative way of political movements. It finally provides a solution to the balance fallacy when applied to politics.
The balance fallacy in politics occurs when a person or voting bloc decides that some kind of vague middle ground between the demands of capital (right wing) and the demands of labour (left wing) is necessarily the best compromise solution.
Note that pointing out this fallacious reasoning here does not mean that one is saying that a balance is bad in and of itself, or that either of the two extremes of left and right would be better in charge.
That is a false trilemma, which is what you get if you see through the false dilemma posed with left and right.
All three positions – pro-capital, pro-labour, and pro-compromise – are all terrible positions because they are all necessarily pro-political system. They are all positions within the broader paradigm of legitimising the use of the political system as a mechanism by which one can exploit one’s class enemies.
The reason why it is impossible to simply strike a balance is that the two wings of the political system co-operate to take power incrementally away from the populace under the pretense of striking a balance. This works in the same way that a cartel works – the members of the cartel agree to offer an equally bad deal to different groups of people.
The way forward will be the way promoted by neophyte political movements like Not A Party. This rag-tag bunch of New Zealanders, led by whoever a random number generator says is the leader on any given day, run in elections with the specific intent of losing.
They then claim the people who have not voted are their supporters, which gives them the largest number of seats in the Not A Parliament. Control of Not A Parliament allows them to not pass any laws, which makes them not responsible for things like cannabis prohibition, which costs New Zealand $400,000,000 per year.
The delusion that all questions of human suffering must be solved first and foremost through the political system is one that has to be rejected if we are actually to make any progress on those questions.
Because there are very, very, very few politicians who could rightly claim that their actions as a politician resulted in a net win for the human survival project.
At some point in the near future, the potential for using psychedelic medicines to help heal the major psychological traumas that cause most mental illnesses will be a hot topic. Unfortunately, we will have to begin almost from the beginning, as the bulk of our historical knowledge about these substances has been destroyed.
Despite this, there is still a considerable amount of shamanic knowledge in the underground culture, certainly much more than what exists in the mainstream medical establishment, for whom the retarded calculus of “drugs = brain damage” still dominates thinking.
The essential thing that has to be understood is that psychedelics, like cannabis, serve to decondition the mind and brain, only in a much deeper and more sudden way than cannabis.
Deconditioning is here used in the clinical psychology sense to mean a process of unlearning – in particular, of unlearning involuntary subconscious reactions to things that may have been useful to deal with the problems of the past but which no longer are.
This is principally why the psychedelic experience is so difficult. It is also why the psychedelic experience is so exhilarating. One sees things as they actually are, as one did when a child, without the experience being filtered through hundreds of layers of conditioning collected over many forgotten years.
It is possible to condition oneself into a mental illness by thinking too hard about things, because the brain (crudely speaking) works like muscles in the sense that the more it is exercised the stronger it becomes.
Because anxiety and depression are often little more than a habitual fixation of thinking on either the future or the past, respectively, a psychedelic experience often has the effect of deconditioning a person from thought patterns that made them unhappy.
This is why a lot of practiced psychedelic users take them when they feel it’s time to reset the thinking. Usually this is after a certain amount of time has passed since the last experience.
Likewise, many people have suppressed traumatic memories. The suppression often makes good short-term sense in that it allows the damaged person to deal with their immediate problems of survival, but it often makes bad long-term sense in that the warping effect it has on someone’s personality magnifies over time.
This points the way to the major positive use of psychedelics in healing mental illness. Any mental illness that has been caused by overconditioning in an area of the brain/mind could be helped by a medicine that deconditions a person from the thoughts they did not want to have.
It could also give them an opportunity to bring up the suppressed memories and to consider them in a new light, free of the conditioned anxiety response that usually accompanies recollection of past traumas.
Where more research will be necessary is to make sure that the patient does not lose conditioning in areas of the brain/mind that actually helped them in their life.
There are many concepts and habits that people have learned for good reasons, in particular concepts around good social conduct that make life much easier for all of us. An 18-year old adult will have been conditioned for almost their entire life about many things.
So in order to be able to use these tools effectively, mental health practitioners will have to educate themselves past the barbaric superstitions that currently inform our approach to pre-pharmaceutical medicines.
Much of this will involve sitting down with drug users and talking to them to discover what benefits they have found in the use of various substances in their explorations of the mind.
This cannot happen until society comes to appreciate both that psychoactive drug users are people who have followed the prehistoric shamanic path, and that this path is still necessary in our society to protects us from the excesses of groupthink, of tradition and of mindless, knee-jerk programmed reactions and thinking.
Some forward-thinking people are starting to discuss the idea of a universal basic income. This is the idea that the Government would make a small but weekly payment to each adult resident citizen, just enough to keep them alive but not enough for any luxuries or even any decencies.
Predictably, the idea that the Government might help the poor in some new fashion has resulted in cries of communism from those who expect to inherit large amounts of property.
But there are reasons to believe that bringing in a universal basic income, even if it was as little as the current unemployment benefit, would significantly raise the standard of living of the average New Zealander.
For instance, a universal basic income would, at a stroke, remove all the cruel things that people do to each other out of desperate poverty.
One might object here that they would not remove all the cruel things that people do to each other out of greed – and that’s true in some cases – but consider this.
Every great dictator or tyrant who convinced a mass of people to go against their better nature, and to later regret that they had done so, convinced those people by offering them money.
They just looked for desperately poor people. Poverty is control. That’s the way it has to be understood for the psychological reactions of people to the question of a universal basic income to be understood.
Hitler could not have achieved what he did without the Great Depression and the economic restrictions imposed on Germany as a consequence of the Versailles Treaty.
People like to make a big deal about Hitler’s rhetoric and oratory skills, but the naked fact is that the NSDAP paid men to serve in the military, and they could pay a lot of men for not much money because those men were all as poor as shit.
This is why getting the rich to give up some of the money they have extorted out of the poor through their control of the Police and of private property is not a simple matter of appealing to the simple fact that it would reduce the sum total of human suffering.
One must also take into account the loss of power this entails.
Think of all the women in history who were forced to accept the sexual advances of a man they didn’t like because they needed the money.
Think of all the men in history who have wound up doing violence to strangers because they were forced to be obedient to someone violent for the sake of money.
Think of all the kings and queens who were able to raise an army to invade some other peaceful place because the peasants of their kingdom had no access to the commons on account of enclosure, and therefore were forced to take the monarch’s silver or starve.
Think of all the times a parent who, on account of stress from worry about where the next meal was coming from, took a short-sighted decision in the heat of the moment and came to regret it.
Go back as far in history as you like. How many robberies, how many burglaries, how many thefts, how many assaults and murders could have been prevented had we merely seen to it that people didn’t need to go hungry, and did so with a similar effort to what we already put into punishing and protecting ourselves from robbers, burglars, thieves and murderers?
We’re not talking about an equal distribution of luxuries, or even decencies. A person living merely on a universal basic income will be too poor to afford much beyond food and shelter – but at least they will not be so poor that they will take violent actions out of desperation.
One might raise an objection to this on the grounds that, if people were willing to look after each other enough to introduce a universal basic income, they would have done so already and would not need coercion through Government taxation.
This objection is only reasonable up to a certain historical point. When the productivity of the average citizen has advanced to such a degree that simply by pressing a button they can cause machines and computers to produce a million dollars worth of goods, there’s no reason barring a sadistic need for control to cut non-machine-owners out of this cornucopia.
Of course, much of this discussion is academic in the case of New Zealand, which is 20 years behind the rest of the world in progress on questions like this and getting worse. Medicinal cannabis was legalised in California in 1996 and we are yet to even have a proper discussion about it, so we will likely be several decades behind the rest of the world on the basic income question too.
On the face of it, it seems obvious that it should be illegal to mutilate a person without their consent in New Zealand. If the mutilation was done to a newborn baby without their consent, it seems even more obvious. But if the mutilation was part of a religious tradition intended to bind the child to a primitive male supremacist Middle Eastern cult, it’s fully legal.
We all know that the various cults of Abrahamism have the plebs of New Zealand wrapped around their little fingers, so much so that it’s only in recent decades that we have been able to stop them putting homosexuals in cages and from bashing their own kids, and we still haven’t been able to prevent them from doing the same to medicinal cannabis users.
Despite that, it’s obvious that the reasons people give for supporting male infant genital mutilation (or “circumcision” to use the religious terminology) are superstitious in nature, and that the decision to inflict the procedure upon an infant is not done with their best interests in mind.
The concept of cleanliness that a nomadic desert savage may have had 2,800 years ago is hardly the same as those of a modern nation with access to clean, fresh water and a ready supply of soap.
Getting mutilated for the sake of avoiding penile cancer, likewise, makes little sense when one considers the actual likelihood of that happening. It doesn’t make any more sense than chopping off your ears or lips for the sake of avoiding cancer, or gouging out an eyeball.
And the oft-touted idea that male infant genital mutilation could be a good thing because when the baby grows into a man he will “last longer” in bed is a bizarre and brutal enough sentiment that many women will shudder upon hearing it, especially those who feel that there’s more to lovemaking than just lying back and getting jackhammered.
The reality is that there are no benefits to the victim of male genital infant mutilation, as fits the otherwise widely-accepted general rule for cases of non-consensual physical mutilation of infants.
The major reason why this ritual continues, despite the denials, is religious. Jewish and Muslim groups were outraged when, in 2012, a court in Cologne deemed male infant genital mutilation to be equivalent to grievous bodily harm.
It has to be considered that the cult of Abrahamism still has a powerful grip on the minds of the weaker sort of New Zealander, which is why the last Labour Government ran out of political capital after it banned physical abuse as a behavioural correction mechanism on children.
Abrahamic puritanism still dominates our drug laws, which are now over twenty years behind where they are in places like California or the Netherlands that do not have societies riddled with religious fundamentalists.
Given that, it is impossible for Kiwis to expect that our politicians, whose cowardice is world-class, will do much about it.
If male infant genital mutilation is to be made illegal in New Zealand, it is best that it be done soon because of the degree of Stockholm Syndrome that the victims of this practice have with their mutilators.
It is well known that victims of male infant genital mutilation will passionately defend the practice as adults because the alternative is to face the shame of admitting that one has been mutilated with the consent of one’s parents. Few are capable of dealing with this magnitude of headfuck.
In fact, it’s arguable that the entire purpose of the procedure is to massively traumatise the boy in order to make him submissive and more obedient to the demands of his religious elders (after all, this is what it most effectively achieves, whether this is admitted or not).
If we are to go as far as making it illegal to genitally mutilate infant boys without their consent, we may also need to allocate some funding for the psychological rehabilitation of adults who were mutilated by their parents, because we can anticipate that this particular redpill might not be easy to swallow.
The limited overs leg of the 2017 South Africa tour of New Zealand was a close-fought contest that ended in South Africa’s favour. As the limited overs game is New Zealand’s strong suit, that means that the South Africans will take the ascendancy into the three-match Test series beginning tomorrow in Dunedin.
South Africa are ranked No. 3 in the world and the Black Caps No. 5. This might not be a large gap but the market is much more confident of a South Africa win. The Proteas are paying only $2.24 on BetFair to win the First Test, compared to the Black Caps paying $3.70 and the Draw $3.60.
The Black Caps will not fondly recall the disappointment from when these two sides last met in Tests – the two match series in South Africa last August. The First Test was ruined by rain and the Second saw the Black Caps at one stage 4 down for 7 runs before a respectable, if futile, rearguard from Henry Nicholls.
Since then, the Black Caps have demolished both Pakistan and Bangladesh at home. Although South Africa will be tougher than either of those two Asian sides in New Zealand conditions, the Black Caps’ home advantage should make this series more interesting than the previous encounter in South Africa last August.
If one makes the assumption that Tom Latham’s poor recent ODI form will not carry over into the Test arena, then the Black Caps top order looks as solid as it ever has been.
They will have the highest ranked Test batsman on display for either side, in Kane Williamson at 4th. His returns in the past year have been good but mediocre by his high standards and he would like to play a defining innings against the South Africans.
Ross Taylor at 15th and Tom Latham at 26th, with Jeet Raval looking solid in his limited opportunities so far, make it a respectable, if far from intimidating, Black Caps top order.
They will not be favoured to dominate the South African bowling attack, though, even in the absence of Dale Steyn. The 21-year old Kagiso Rabada had barely had time to find his feet but has already risen to 5th in the Test bowling rankings, with two five-wicket hauls in only 14 Tests.
He will likely open the bowling with Vernon Philander, who averages 21.40 with the ball over 40 Tests. In terms of bowling average, at least, it will be easily the most formidable opening bowling pair the Black Caps have faced since their last series against South Africa.
They also have Morne Morkel, whose height and bounce pose a threat that New Zealand batsmen rarely face, and an almost total unknown in left-arm orthodox Keshav Maharaj.
The Black Caps have no real bowling spearheads but are capable of sustained pressure. Neil Wagner, Trent Boult and Tim Southee occupy positions 11 to 13 on the Test bowling rankings table.
These three bowlers have proven themselves capable of hunting as a pack, and the variety of Wagner’s left-arm bouncer barrage, Boult’s left-arm swing and Southee’s right-arm seam should make it difficult for the South African batsmen to settle. It will also be interesting to see if Mitchell Santner can usefully transfer his tight ODI bowling into the Test arena.
The South African Test batting unit might not be as terrifying as it is in ODIs but it still poses a threat. They do not have AB de Villiers for this series but both of Hashim Amla and Quentin de Kock are ranked in the top 10 and either could play a matchwinning knock.
The Black Caps bowlers will back their bowling plans against the other batsmen like Faf du Plessis, Stephen Cook, Dean Elgar, JP Duminy and Temba Bavuma. None of the batsmen in South Africa’s second tier pose a particular threat but all are very good players. Even if the Black Caps pick up a string of wickets somewhere they will always have to work hard to get the rest.
A heavyweight South Africa side without their best two players and playing in foreign conditions over three Tests against a middle-of-the-pack Black Caps side hungry to make the top tier promises to be highly competitive cricket. This column is guessing the most likely outcome to be a two-one win to South Africa or a one-all draw.
There seems to be a paradigm shift going on in the world of international cricket at the moment. The rise of T20 cricket and international T20 leagues has revolutionised viewing patterns and brought tens of millions of new fans to the game.
This essay suggests a change that, although it should be welcome, is a bit more humble: making a ODI tri-nations involving Australia, South Africa and New Zealand into a regular fixture.
It hasn’t been feasible to suggest such a thing previously because the Black Caps have not previously been up to the extremely high standards set by South Africa and Australia (apart from South Africa’s generally poor showing in Cricket World Cups).
But now it seems like the Black Caps can hold their own against both of those other sides in ODIs, and will be able to for the forseeable future, making a tri-nations a legitimate contest.
There are many strong parallels between this idea and the already proven successful concept of doing exactly the same thing in rugby.
For one, there are very close cultural links between the three countries. All three are children of the British Empire, all play cricket, rugby, hockey, all speak English etc. For decades there has been considerable immigration between the three countries.
That was the logic that led to the advent of the Tri Nations rugby tournament. This proved to be a roaring success, as there was a consistent demand to see a regular, high-quality, competitive tournament.
The Chappell-Hadlee ODI series cup played between Australia and New Zealand has also been a success, with the name of the tournament becoming a byword for close and exciting games. This would naturally fall under the ambit of this tri-nations in the same way the Bledisloe Cup fell under the ambit of the rugby Tri Nations.
The current South Africa-Black Caps ODI series has become a seesaw grudge match because of the excellence of both sides and because of feelings of unfinished business around South Africa’s loss in the CWC semifinal at Eden Park in 2015.
And cricket fans around the world know that Australia versus South Africa is the matchup most likely to pose the greatest test of skill now and in the near future at least.
So all three ingredients in this mix are high-grade.
There is already a precedent for this kind of thing – the Australians regularly play ODI tri-series with two visiting teams (or even Australia A), and there has even been one iteration when the visiting teams were South Africa and New Zealand – and it was by all accounts an excellent series (but not for Steve Waugh, who was replaced by Ricky Ponting as ODI captain in the wake of Australia’s defeat).
If Australia were to host it permanently or semi-permanently on the grounds that they would get by far the best crowds, they could arrange to play either New Zealand or South Africa in a Test series either before or after the tri-nations, smoothing the logistic arrangements.
With international cricket undergoing many changes at the moment, it’s possible that a regular fixture like this might gain in popularity as it develops a history and established rivalry.
The theme of revenge for South Africa’s 2015 Cricket World Cup semifinal loss to the Black Caps has been well established. The Proteas came to Auckland with every reason to think they had what it took to seize a place in the World Cup final, but were denied at the last moment.
The Limited Overs leg of this year’s tour begins tomorrow and involves six matches. For South Africa there might be something of the 2015 World Cup about it, as the final match is, once again, at Eden Park.
The leg begins with a T20, also at Eden Park. Much of the interest in the T20 revolves about the late call-up of prodigious Auckland talent Glenn Phillips, who is replacing the injured Martin Guptill.
The 20-year old Phillips is already being talked about as a talent on the order of Kane Williamson and Tom Latham. In last year’s Super Smash he scored 369 runs at an average of 46 and a strike rate of 143, including one century scored at a strike rate of 200.
That is the sort of hitting the Black Caps will need at the top if they are to find an adequate replacement for Guptill. In limited overs matches the Black Caps know that if Guptill goes big, they win, because his striking ability is unmatched.
New Zealand sit comfortably on top of the current world T20I rankings, with South Africa at fourth. It’s almost exactly the other way around in the ODIs, with South Africa ranked at the top and the Black Caps third.
Despite that, the Black Caps are currently paying $2.34 on BetFair to win the T20, so there appears to be some value there.
The South African batting features four of the top ranked seven batsmen in the world at the moment, in AB de Villiers, Faf du Plessis, Hashim Amla and Quentin de Kock. With any four of those players capable of a matchwinning innings, that makes the Proteas top order arguably the strongest ODI top order that has ever come to these shores.
The Black Caps, for their part, have a diverse and highly skilled array of artillery to break through this. But barring Trent Boult, who is currently ranked the No. 2 ODI bowler, none of them can rightly be said to be at the same skill level as the South African batting lineup.
Although there is much to choose from out of Matt Henry, Tim Southee, Lockie Ferguson, Mitchell McClenaghan and Adam Milne (the latter two returning from injury), none of those names pose the known and established threat that Boult does.
Probably the Black Caps will pick Trent Boult, one of the two speedsters (likely to be Ferguson who is in the squad ahead of Milne) and the other spot will be decided by who is best for the conditions out of Henry and Southee.
Ish Sodhi will also be back in case the Black Caps decide to try and strangle the South Africans with the spin of Sodhi, Mitchell Santner and perhaps even Williamson. If the seamers end up getting dominated by the superb Proteas batsmen, expect a wholesale shift to Plan B: strangle by spin.
The South African bowling unit would generally back itself to defend the large totals their batsmen would expect to put up. They have the No. 1 ranked ODI bowler in Imran Tahir, and the ever-more impressive Kagiso Rabada, who is ranked equal with Matt Henry at 7.
Rabada ought to find New Zealand pitches to his liking, with his Courtney Walsh-style action a test of any batsman’s technique. Chris Morris might be hard to get away but Wayne Parnell, JP Duminy and Andile Phehlukwayo will not be names the Black Caps batsmen are afraid of.
Dean Brownlie scored an excellent 63 in the Black Caps’ Hadlee-Chappell winning effort in their last ODI against Australia, and he has been selected to open in place of Guptill for the first two ODIs (Guptill is expected to be fit for the third).
The rest of the Black Caps top order looks very strong, with Latham, Williamson and Ross Taylor making up the remainder. With Luke Ronchi back in the ODI squad there is plenty of middle order hitting power as well.
Expect a high-scoring series in stark contrast to the recent Hadlee-Chappell, as both South Africa and the Black Caps have considerably stronger batting lineups than they do bowling attacks. It is, however, likely to be close, with a 3-2 win to the Proteas probably the slight favourite over a 3-2 to the Black Caps.