New Zealand doom and gloom
Leadership and team culture are the most important problem IMO.
Taylor looks seriously down on confidence and weighed down by the responsibility of captaincy. Definitely think he’s the sort of player to be affected by his bad batting form and dropping those catches – will feel his authority has eroded. Obviously there have been injury problems and off-field distractions too and I’m sure he’s aware of captaincy speculation and that has to contribute to him second-guessing himself about everything (my read, anyway). However I think talk of changing the captaincy to McCullum is total bollocks. Maybe he would have been a better choice originally or maybe not, but there’s no way it’s worth the turmoil of changing now (unless Taylor actually doesn’t want the captaincy, which I doubt). We all feel nostalgia for the years of Fleming’s captaincy while perhaps forgetting there were a good 3 or 4 years at the start there that were totally dire and when there were loud repeated calls for Fleming’s head. If he hadn’t had support from some quarters and a good coach he probably would never have made it through that period. Best thing to do is support Taylor and if NZC and coaching is more stable for the next 2-3 years, he’ll grow into it. Short term he needs to find a way to get some confidence back – hopefully he has mentors who will tell him he’s awesome.
Our best batsmen are already there, considering that Ryder is a twit, Vettori is injured (and not batting well anyway) and Brownlie is also in terrible form and bad against spin. Unfortunately players like Guptill and Flynn need to learn how to play spin in the subcontinent in a pressure test match, rather than in practise matches or against weaker opposition. Need a lot more of that 2-per-over grind from McCullum, Williamson and Franklin (and hopefully Taylor) next test, because no-one else is going to do it. This series is already looking like a write-off so the aim next test is for everyone to spend as much time batting against spin as possible.
As Bahnz said, lower order batting is a real weakness in this side at the moment too – five or six down equals all out. But it’s not going to get any better any time soon, apart from a small boost when Martin goes. Or if they put Vettori back to 8 and weaken our bowling
Didn’t see enough of the Windies series to make a judgment but now have - it’s time for Martin to go. It was pretty bizarre to leave him out of a four seamer attack in Windies 2nd test and then pick him again first match of this series, presumably based on one great spell in India 2010. He bowled ok but it’s a travesty to have all of Nethula, Southee and Wagner on the sidelines (some of you are writing off Nethula and Wagner way too soon). Martin should have retired after being left out of the second test vs Windies anyway.
I guarantee that if they drop Van Wyk for Watling, in 4 or 5 tests people will be whinging again because he will have made a mistake keeping or not scored as many runs as hoped. Guaranteed. All our potential keepers are average – accept it. Last couple of years should have taught us a few things:
· Lower order runs in NZ domestic cricket (Hopkins, Young, Van Wyk, De Boorder and some non-wicketkeeping plodders too) are meaningless when it comes to international cricket.
· Need to avoid being reactionary – see current nostalgia for Reece Young – I should dig up some of the posts that were baying for his blood before he was dropped after a measly 5 tests.
Sure, I’m wavering on Van Wyk, but if he and Taylor can sort out whose catch is whose then that would be a good start. I’d pick him for next test anyway, maybe Sri Lanka too. Watling vs spin is not pretty either. De Boorder sounds like a younger NZ-born clone of Van Wyk and I guarantee Ronchi hype is just that – hype. And if they do drop Van Wyk, please give the next guy at least three series before complaining.
Needs to improve. Should improve under Hesson.
XI for next test is same but drop Martin for one of Nethula, Southee or Wagner, depending on conditions and who seems to be in form. On the face of it this looks like punishing a bowler for batsmen’s poor performance, but we don’t have any other batsmen and anyway it’s way too early to drop Flynn or Franklin.
Forecast is it’s not going to get any better as 2012/13 season is incredibly tough - two tests in Sri Lanka, two tests in South Africa, three tests at home vs England, two tests in England. It’s going to be really ugly - I can’t see us winning a single test and it will be tough to even scrape out draws.
We need to select players and stick with them. The patience that’s been afforded Williamson – yeah we need to show that for pretty much every other player NZ picks too, unless they’re a real mistake who shouldn’t have been picked in the first place (like Nicol). I would more or less take this 15, add Vettori, minus Martin and maybe one spinner (3 is too many), and not change more than a couple of players over those next 9 tests. Try to build a unit through a period of stability and give Hesson some time to have an impact.
It’s going to be ****