While a lot of people here are focussing on the performances of our top order, I think another difference between now and the Fleming era is the abilities of our lower order. When you think about it, Fleming's top 6 really weren't significantly better than the lot that are playing now (with the notable exception of Richardson). Fleming, Astle, McMillan, Vincent, Sinclair and Styris all averaged in the 35-40 range, and whoever was tasked with opening with Richardson was always a walking wicket.
However, compare our lower order in the late 90's of Cairns at 7, Parore at 8, Nash at 9 and Vettori at 10, with van Wyk, Bracewell, Boult and Patel. In the Fleming era we had one of the strongest lower orders in world cricket, and could rely on them to get us from 150/5 to 300, if at least one of the top 6 was there to support them. Nowadays, especially as Vettori's batting has fallen away in the last year, we can't bank on making more than 50 runs after the 5th wicket falls, and that's a serious problem.
Anyway, we're realistically on par with Bangladesh at the moment, and I'd expect them to smoke us on current form, the next time we tour there.
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 :puke:
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 ****
I'm like a dog with a bone on van Wyk - there is no upside to this guy continuing to be selected. He is averaging less than any keeper we've selected. His keeping is pretty average. He's affecting the cordon. And he's 32, or whatever he is. There is zero reason to keep picking him. If Watling plays, at least he's 26 or whatever and has a future, and he's a more capable player who plays more formats as well. If they don't want to go for Watling, de Boorder is next in line. He's a far better option. And I don't think there's nostalgia for Reece at all. He missed one chance, failed to score runs v Australia (remembering everyone did on that tour) and he's gone. No one had an issue with him against Pakistan. I'm not saying he's the guy but he's better than van Wyk.
Fielding, absolutely. Shocking in the last Test, and not all that much better in the West Indies from memory. Apparently this is closely attributed to the John Wright 'get in the nets and sort it out' mentality. Hesson is well organised and his Otago sides have been dynamite in the field, so I expect this to improve. We were vastly outfielded by India, which is mind boggling. Duncan Fletcher must be working them hard, plus there's probably a big push in the IPL as well.
Martin, he's on tenderhooks too which pains me to say as I love the bloke. I'm not willing to give up on him just yet, however. His spot should go to Southee in the next 12 months but it's up to him to earn it. Boult is a must-pick now and Bracewell is too, even if we do desire a bit more than has been produced since Hobart.
The next 18 months are going to be hell, that is for sure.
Maybe 'nostalgia' wasn't the right word for the views on Reece Young - what I mean is that people like you are now saying he was dropped too early - which I have sympathy for because I think wicketkeepers should be picked firstly for wicketkeeping (and he's not a terrible batsman anyway - if we'd had some patience). But people looked at the truckloads of runs being piled up by in domestic FC by Van Wyk (and De Boorder the previous season) and all that 'potential' present in Watling and wanted mooooooooooore from a keeper and pulled the trigger prematurely on Young. And no surprises, it hasn't worked out so far - Van Wyk hasn't found his feet yet either after a similar number of tests and may not at all. Now we all apparently think Watling is going to be a good batsman-wicketkeeper based on a few fifties in some ODIs vs Windies - he really hasn't shown a lot apart from that. Let alone the keeping part. Yes he definitely has more upside than Van Wyk but he comes off a lower base too - would need at least a year of guaranteed place in the side to maybe come good.
All I'm saying is, Young was dropped too early, let's not do the same to Van Wyk. All we can expect is someone to do the job for 3 years and average 20 with the bat - a Robbie Hart. Fact is Van Wyk scored bucketloads of runs in NZ domestic FC (to the point where PEWS was saying he could make it as a pure batsman iirc) so if he can't score runs in internationals I don't like De Boorder's chances. And his keeping has been pretty good barring the communication between him and Taylor, which needs to improved.
As for Martin, if you want to get rid of players with no upside or room for improvement then he's it. And we have alternatives. Yes it's a little sad but as I said before, I think the right thing to do after he was dropped in the West Indies would have been to retire and make room for the guys coming through. Where Southee failed, Boult and Bracewell now are settled in the seam attack, so Martin can afford to call it quits.
Wow a lot of reading - good stuff lads.
FTR Watling would not have scored any runs in that test.
Actually Southee in for Wagner maybe. Do like my Southee.
That would be my team, as well. Southee and Boult to become the best new-ball combo in the world. Has a nice ring to it.
Southee for Wagner, otherwise that's probably our best XI to take forward.
Originally Posted by Athlai
And I completely agree - let's pick a wicketkeeper and give him our backing for an extended period of time. 18 months, whatever it is. And it's not van Wyk. Make it Watling, or de Boorder, or Latham. Back them to the hilt. Get them into combination with the cordon, get used to keeping to our bowlers. Give them the No.7 slot and let them own it. And get a specialist wicketkeeping/fielding coach to slap us intp action. Someone like a Rixon, whatever - even if they don't tour, get them in the build-up.
Just a quick observation from a neutral.
Originally Posted by SteveNZ
Whether it is just a cyclical problem or suggestive of something deeper within NZ cricket, there seems not to be the 2-3 world class players backed up by 5-6 solid international performers that have made up the side when the Black Caps have been competitive.
Even at their strongest, NZ still carried one or two players and tended to rely on individual brilliance from a Crowe or Hadlee, with others contributing around them.
Taylor could well be on the verge of becoming that world class batsman, but I'd argue that until NZ are able to replace Shane Bond then they'll continue to struggle in the lower levels of the test rankings.
It's also been the case that NZ have had a disproportionate number of tough players with character in the Jones/Bracewell mould, who prided themselves on not giving the opposition an inch. Seems to be the sort of competitor that is going out of sport generally and that could be a bigger problem for NZ than most...
At the moment it's 2 or 3 solid performers backed up by nothing.
The lack of a Shane Bond has nothing to do with our ****tyness, I don't know why everyone thinks that. We've NEVER had a bowler resembling Bond apart from, well, Bond, even in our stronger era(s). We just need some batsmen who can put some damn runs on the board.
Yep, the biggest issue is our lack of runs. Yes we aren't running through many teams but we're also a) not giving them much to bowl to and b) giving them enough to sit down and rest between innings.
The Test that sticks out in my mind is India, Napier, 2009 (?) We made 600 odd on an absolute road and although it was flat as hell, the sheer weight of our runs affected India's mindset and we made them follow on. We didn't win the Test but we gave them a damn good run because we created scoreboard pressure. And from memory our bowling line up was Martin, Franklin, O'Brien, Vettori and Patel. Hardly earth shattering on a featherbed against Sehwag, Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman etc. But it worked because we posted the runs. Same as India in late 2010 - we got runs and put pressure on them. In the third Test we didn't, and suffered.
Top-quality batting talent - after the glut of retirements in mid-late last decade our next two big standout talents were Ryder and Taylor (age 28), and now Williamson too (age 22). Historically speaking we're actually quite lucky to have three top batting talents at the same time. Ryder is going to piss his away but Taylor and Williamson should have their best years ahead. The problem more has been the lack of less-talented batsmen who make a success of themselves and round out the batting order - as discussed a while ago, the last one in this mold was Styris.
As for bowlers, we missed an entire generation where it seemed anyone with talent underperformed or got injured - that's why the older generation all now 33+ (Martin, Bond, O'Brien, Oram, Mills, Tuffey) are giving way to the under 23 generation (Southee, Boult, Bracewell). There's a glaring absence of bowlers between those ages and they're the ones who should be in their prime now.
Keep VanWyk - don't want Watling in the team dropping catches and he would have failed with the bat because he sucks against spin and world class bowling of any description. Failed opening the batting against the Windies etc.
If VanWyk stinks in the next test bring in Derek. Then Ronchi after that. If Watling wants to be a keeper let him get a year of FC keeping and some list A stuff under his belt.
At least Kruger took a good catch in this game.
And it was good that Young was dropped as for whatever reason he had a rough time with the gloves. Maybe nerves. Didn't mind his batting.