NZ “underperformed” says Crowe

Martin Crowe, one of New Zealand’s greatest ever batsmen and the captain in the team’s 1992 World Cup campaign, has attacked the approach taken by the 2007 side after their capitulation at the hands of Sri Lanka at the semi-final stage.

Crowe believes that the side failed to live up to expectations, and that a campaign that was far from perfect throughout the tournament began to unravel with the record defeat at the hands of trans-Tasman neighbours Australia. He criticised the absence of two key players in Shane Bond and Jacob Oram, the former through succumbing to food poisoning after “eating a dodgy fish curry” the previous day and Oram because the importance of the match and the fact that the matches were well spaced-out meant that his heel injury should not have prevented him from playing.

He says it was wrong to look past the Australia clash to the semi-final against Sri Lanka, as he believes NZ did. The result of which, he says, is that the players who were left on the sidelines in the Australia game were short of match practice when the semi-final did eventually come along.

The former captain was also disappointed by the team’s reaction to the loss to Australia, saying that it should have come as a wake-up call, dented their confidence and really moved them to work hard to lift their game, while instead they used “PR speak” and put “a positive spin on things.”

Crowe agrees with Stephen Fleming’s decision to surrender the ODI captaincy, saying that there is a “need to move on to fresh ideas because the game is moving on very quickly.”

Like the 2007 side, Crowe’s 1992 New Zealand team made the semi-finals of the World Cup. But unlike yesterday’s one-sided match in which the Black Caps were completely outclassed, New Zealand went desperately close to beating Pakistan in the 1992 semi-final and it was only possibly the best innings of Inzamam-ul-Haq’s ODI career that guided them home.

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