Notes from the slip, November 17th

Henry Nicholls alleged ball-tampering. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Henry Nicholls alleged ball-tampering. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Hitting the mark

Bugger. The Black Caps were bundled out of the World Cup by a classy Indian side. They were just too good and most of us knew that going in. 

Losing the toss did not help. There is simply too big of an advantage for the side batting first during day-night games at Wankhede Stadium. 

But unlike 2019, there is no sense the Black Caps were ripped off. They did about as well as might have been expected. 

The loss of our best seamer, Matt Henry, was more costly than perhaps initially thought. 

Trent Boult was not the potent force he has been previously, and Tim Southee was arguably lucky to get the gig ahead of Adam Milne, who was overlooked for the tournament. 

Devon Conway fell into the category of disappointing as well. He did not kick on from his superb knock of 152 not out in the opening game against England. 

Tom Latham slots into that camp as well. He did not have a meaningful impact. 

But the Black Caps did uncover a new star in Rachin Ravindra.

He is bound to be popping up in the IPL next season after plundering 578 runs in his first World Cup. 

Daryl Mitchell continued to underlined his value in the side.

His knock of 134 in the semifinal gave the Black Caps a sniff. 

And Kane Williamson — what a champ.

He battled his way back from a knee injury and shook off a thumb injury as well to scored three half centuries in four innings.

Hat tip to Mitchell Santner, who has endured endless abuse in this column over the years but was easily our best performed bowler.


Crease bound

New Zealand Cricket really did not cover itself in glory in the way it dealt with the Henry Nicholls alleged ball-tampering incident. 
I say alleged but it looked very much like a deliberate attempt to alter the surface of the ball to me. He had at least three cracks at it.
But, well, in a decision which surprised some, Nicholls was cleared. 
Independent commissioners Lee Robinson and John Greenwood ruled neither the actions of Nicholls nor the evidence presented met the threshold required to rule a breach of the Code of Conduct.
And then this quote. "We find the player’s actions were, in fact, unlikely to alter the condition of the ball or the shape of the ball," they noted.
Unlikely? Wow. The way that reads to me is he was tampering with the ball but he just was not very good at it.
Nicholls might need some tips from more experienced ball-tamperers, perhaps?
And if he really did not tamper with the ball then he was completely undermined by that injudicious quote. 
There is a postscript to this incident. Having broken the story, I was excluded from the main area of the media centre at the University Oval earlier this week.
It was explained to me there were going to be some sensitive phone conversations taking place.
The Nicholls decision was still within the appeal window and there were some nervous people about. 
As of early yesterday afternoon no appeal had been filed. 
The Otago Daily Times requested a copy of the full report but was declined.
"An executive summary may be issued next week, but at the moment we’re still within the appeal deadline," a spokesman said.