Coaches call for Kiwi changes

Former New Zealand players and coaches have been unanimous in the call for wholesale changes to New Zealand’s top order batting before next year’s World Cup in the West Indies. The calls come after New Zealand’s frontline batsman collapsed to 6 for 35 against Australia during Wednesday’s semi-final at Mohali.

Amongst New Zealand’s players, Hamish Marshall, Peter Fulton and Lou Vincent have all come under fire. The three have cumulatively amassed just 52 runs in 10 Champions Trophy innings. Leading the way in the calls for replacements is former New Zealand coach Warren Lees. Lees commented that Marshall in particular appears lost at international level. “I look at his eyes, at his body language, and I think he almost wants to go…It’s as if he’s telling the bowler, ‘for God’s sake, do it quickly, don’t let it be drawn out.”

Calls have also been made for shifts in the current batting order. Lees feels that Nathan Astle would be more suited to batting in the middle order, rather than his current position at number three. “At this stage of his career, with his footwork a little slower, he should be batting at number five.”

Former New Zealand wicket keeper Adam Parore has also advocated change, saying if “[Bracewell] wants to win the World Cup he’ll need to make changes.” In his column for the New Zealand Herald, Parore suggested that current keeper Brendon McCullum should be brought up the order, saying “McCullum could be another Adam Gilchrist if given the chance…But he’ll never be that type of player if they continue to bat him at no. seven and eight.”

As to who those new players should be, players and coaches stand united in their support of Central Districts batsman Ross Taylor. Taylor who made his debut against the West Indies earlier this year, was advocated by former international Dipak Patel, who stated “he’s dynamic and it’s those sort of players you need at a World Cup.” Other players potentially in line for selection are batsmen Jamie How and Mathew Sinclair, and bowler Mark Gillespie.

However, Steve Rixon, who coached New Zealand from 1997 to 1999, warned that the selectors shouldn’t over react to recent poor performances. “You need to be very careful and ensure you’re not just being reactionary to a disappointment in the Champions Trophy.” However, Rixon also commented that if new players are to be introduced, it needs to be soon. “I would be biting the bullet and giving them every opportunity in the forthcoming Sri Lankan series.”

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