Wednesday, 13 February 2013

How strong is NZ cricket?

STOP PRESS: New Zealand beat England in a game of cricket.

Does this signal the start of a humdinger of a tour, culminating in hard fought games with high scores and people starting to take note of New Zealand cricket once more?

Ross Taylor

I’m afraid not. New Zealand cricket is in a right pickle at the minute. Changing captains, star player walking out, lack of cohesion and senior players making key decisions, it certainly stinks of England in recent times. The one exception however is: England had the players and support to get out of the rut and perform ON THE PITCH.

The Black Caps are not in the position to do this. The team is now ranked below Bangladesh in ODI’s and are eighth in Tests and T20s. Add to this the 45 all-out against South Africa and you can also smell the fear in the air for the Beige Brigade.

They have tried to turn things around but instead of making a change, sticking with it and working together with the one goal of improving as a cricket nation they have made change after change resulting in the removal of Ross Taylor as captain of the limited over sides and Taylor himself resigning as skipper of the Test side and becoming unavailable for their tour recent tour of South Africa.

Taylor, now 28, has been part of the New Zealand set-up for almost 10 years and quite frankly treated like muck. If there was to be a change, surely it had to be face-to-face and discussed, rather than informing the poor bloke from thousands of miles away via telephone.

Vettori...Taylor's predecessor

The sacking, in my eyes, had been coming. Since taking over from Daniel Vettori in June 2011 he had won four out of 13 test matches (two of these against Zimbabwe) six out of 17 ODI’s (again,five against Zimbabwe) and seven out of 15 T20’s (five against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh). It was just the manner of the axing that irked fans.

Besides from the Taylor situation, the quality of players available is a great concern. New Zealand is of course going to be under-resourced compared to the bigger nations around the world but the players being produced need to be of better quality than what they already have. This comes from the standard of coaching.

New Zealand Cricket has been given$2.14 million over three years from the ICC’s targeted assistance and performance programme (TAPP) this is hoped to help the country become more competitive on the world stage. Zimbabwe and West Indies have had similar grants, so have emerging cricketing nations- Ireland and Scotland.

They will, we are assured, spend the money not on the current side but instead they will use it to improve the Aside and the development of coaching and grass roots cricket. They are targeting a wider means of developing cricket in the country.

With all focus on the future of the side and developing future stars, the current side (especially the Test side) need to dig in and stand up and be counted. They have good, solid, Test players. There may not be many superstars but the players need to listen and play to their strengths. No international side should be bowled out for 45 when there are 450 overs to bat.

Hadlee...the jewel in New Zealand's crown

It will take a long time tore cover from their obvious decline but they need a plan and work on core areas,then, no doubt they can return to the glory days of the 80’s. They should be taking it one step at a time, one place up the rankings at a time.

I don’t think they should be worrying about the England series next month but should have one eye on the meetings with Bangladesh later on this year. That will give us all a clearer indication of where New Zealand stand.


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