A conversation between myself and DOG was threatening to break out in the blackcaps tour thread so I thought I would bring it in here and invite other fans to compare their team to previous editions over the years:
Firstly to compare to 1980s you need to think about which 1980s team. Are we including Bruce Edgar, What about Andrew Jones...I have gone with this team for comparison purposes:
3rd Test: Australia v New Zealand at Perth, Nov 30-Dec 4, 1985 | Cricket Scorecard | ESPN Cricinfo
For the 2014 version please use the boxing day test side or for fans from other countries whoever played your last test or should have been playing it if there was an obvious omission due to short term injury like Herath.
So the reasons why the 1980s side was better
1) It had two opening batsman - Bruce Edgar apart from being my fav player was no slouch despite his low test match batting average. He consistently played important knocks and got us off to safe (and slow) starts. The 2014 version still has Hamish Rutherford who everyone knows is on borrowed time because there is no one else. John Wright was also significantly better than Tom Latham is right now although Tom will catch up with time and experience.
2) JF Reid was always a curious creature to me - he was just suddenly in the side and he just looked like he belonged and scored runs. He would finish with a test match batting average of 46. Kane will go on to be a much better batsman when he hits his prime. But JF Reid was decent and worthy of comparison.
3) Martin Crowe is our greatest ever batsman
4) Coney vs McCullum. Coney averaged 37 which in those days was pretty good and was no weak link.
5) Jeff Crowe sucked pretty much and was in the team because he played 1st class cricket in Australia so he must be good mentality prevailed with his selection.
6) The bowling - the supporting cast was better than the 2014 edition. Bracewell was simply better by a country mile than Mark Craig, and Chatfield vs Wagner. Well both of them were o are (in Wagner's case) completely different bowlers I will call it a tie on worth to the team. I am saying that based on Wagner's overall performance this year and since selection not this last game or his stint in county cricket.
Where the argument really gets interesting is comparing Hadlee vs the combined impact of Southee and Boult. In the 2nd innings of the boxing day test Southee and Boult took 8 wickets. Hadlee didn't often take 8 wickets. Sometimes he did (well nine on one occasion) but not often. But on the other hand Hadlee was worth two Southee's in my opinion. He was that incisive. If you had Hadlee in your team you wouldn't have opened him up in a trade for Australia's two opening bowlers at the time. Most CW pundits might have traded him for Marshall but that would be about the only trade of the time that you would make. Perhaps in the boxing day test Sri Lanka don't make 400 in their 2nd dig if we had've had Hadlee Chats and Bracewell. Maybe Hadlee would have accounted for that chap who scored 150 early doors. All Hadlee ever asked for was a pitch that just had a little bit in it. Not a lot just a bit. The CHCH pitch would have suited him.
I realise this OP has focused on the blackcaps. Because that is where the discussion started but wanted to open up to other teams. I think this Australian side has the makings of a good one, maybe not their best road team but decent enough.
India look like a side that is one opening bowler away from being there. But enough of my thoughts what are yours....