North Shore Times : January 22nd 2013
www.northshoretimes.co.nz 30 NORTH SHORE TIMES, JANUARY 22, 2013 SPORT Cricket lovers vent anger over botch-ups Under fire: Black Caps coach Mike Hesson is central to the opinions expressed by local cricketers. Photo: GETTY IMAGES Everyone from former international players to couch critics has an opinion on the Black Caps captaincy, coaching, and player performance this season. Ahead of the home series against England starting next month the North Shore Times invited some of those involved at the grassroots level of the game to add their views on the situation. Hard done by: The treatment of former Black Caps captain Ross Taylor has been questioned by grassroots cricketers. Photo: GETTY IMAGES The current tour of South Africa has turned into one of the worst tours in living memory and this has left cricket lovers throughout the country angry and frustrated says former first-class cricketer Gary Langridge who has been involved with cricket on the Shore for more than 20 years at school, club and regional level. While we are up against an outstanding side in South Africa, it appears they have a psychological hold over us. I think back to the Aust- ralian tour and watched in the first two tests the vaun- ted pace attack toil and struggle to take wickets. Philander and Steyn did not look like the magicians they do against us and but for a little more luck, Aust- ralia could have clinched the series 2-0. The fact they didn t speaks volumes for the determination of this South African unit. We did not capitulate as we did against South Africa when we last played Aust- ralia and in fact we had a stirring test match victory- . . . the type us cricket tragics live for. Yet we turn up in South Africa and play well below our ability. How did it get so bad? Firstly, the loss of key players did not help our cause. Unfortunately one of our biggest weaknesses is our lack of depth due to the size of our population and sub- sequently our cricketing population. We cannot afford to lose players of this quality and I have no doubt that with Daniel Vettori, Jesse Ryder, Tim Southee and of course the world-class Ross Taylor available, our performance in the republic would have been entirely different. Secondly, the abysmal dis- mantling of Ross Taylor s captaincy has had a pro- found effect on this side. Mike Hesson has a lot to answer for with his decision to remove Taylor. From what I have seen he never inten- ded to retain Taylor and from the time he was appoin- ted he never once acknow- ledged his support, referring at all times to New Zealand Cricket as making the decision on captaincy. His reason for supposedly offering him the test role and reducing his load is laugh- able. Taylor s record in the early stages of his reign are as good as most New Zea- land captains and his per- sonal performances are sig- nificantly better than when he was not captain. The decision to change was bound to be disruptive and so it is proving. The handling of the situ- ation and the subsequent cover up are amateur to say the least. Hesson has got his wish. Now let him show us the improvements that he suggested will be the result of this radical change! North Shore Cricket Club's premier team cap- tain Josh Tasman-Jones asks where do you start with the NZC shambles? As an outsider looking in it s difficult to know exactly what has been going on within the NZC circus. For what it s worth though here s three ways I believe New Zealand cricket can turn things around. 1. Leadership. It starts at the top. While I thought Brendon McCullum should ve got the captaincy initially, the way NZC managed the captaincy fiasco and Taylor and Wright in particular has been dis- gusting. They need to get the senior players back on board committed and playing regu- larly, show some faith in the coach/captain and start cre- ating some depth through an improved development pro- gramme for fringe players on the cusp of selection and young players trying to make their way through the grassroots of the game. 2. Consistency. We expect consistency from the players, for that to happen the players them- selves need consistency with regards to who is leading them and the systems that are in place. Constantly changing the playing and coaching personnel is going to do nothing for the culture. Peel it back to the core of what is required to compete and win at the highest level and start from scratch with a fresh culture and fresh approach to playing cricket for New Zealand. Most of all don t just talk about it, do it on the field day in and day out! 3. Show some ticker. It can t get any worse. Confidence is only going to come if they break the shack- les, show some ticker and play with some intelligence while expressing their ability. They have to forget about whatever has hap- pened before them and get on with representing their country with passion and a belief that they are more than capable of competing on the international stage. I d like to think the end of the misery is close as the only way the Black Caps can surely go is up. Let s hope this whole period will be nothing but a distant memory shortly and we re-establish ourselves in the top tier of international cricket over the next two years...a test series win versus England would be an ideal start to restoring \ faith in the team and the sport. East Coast Bays' club captain Paul Watson has been compelled to compile a letter to Black Caps coach Mike Hesson. Dear Mr Hesson and the Black Caps Selectors, As a New Zealand cricket fan I would like some ans- wers as to why you appear to be sabotaging New Zealand cricket. Around the traps I have never seen a nation as rest- less and as disappointed as they are right now with our national summer sport. Please therefore answer the following questions: 1. Why are our two most naturally talented batsmen (both of who average over 40 in test cricket by the way) watching innings defeats in South Africa from their liv- ing rooms and/or bed (alth- ough many times it wasn t that late of a night). 2. Why does one player get everything he wants (not keeping, opening the batting, captaincy) when he (along with Martin Guptill) is the biggest under-achiever we have? 3. Do I ever have to watch Jeetan Patel in a New Zea- land shirt ever again? His bowling average represents a world class batters average (48 and a half). Not to men- tion he has no heart, doesn t turn the ball and is almost 33. Make it stop! 4. What took you so long to go back to BJ Watling as a wicketkeeper/batsman? He made 102* and took a bundle of catches, got injured and then was never considered again as our first choice keeper until he scored one day runs. 5. Will we ever have our best 11 (or close to it) on the park? In case you were wonder- ing -- here is our best Test XI -- ask anyone in New Zea- land and they will tell you the same thing. Guptill, Watling, William- son, Taylor (c), Ryder, Brownlie, McCullum, Vet- tori/ B Martin, Bracewell, Southee/ Wagner, Boult. Now -- put them all on the park against the Poms and you might be able to restore some of this country s inter- est in cricket. Kindest regards, Frustrated Club Cricketer Embarrassing -- I think that one word sums up how many of us who love the game feel about the state of New Zealand cricket at the moment says Birkenhead City Cricket Club s senior operation s director Paul Rainey. Forget all the glitz and glam that Twenty20 has brought into the game along with the huge pay packets of course and the occasional ODI victory, test cricket is where it counts and real cric- ket fans know this. New Zealand has always punched above its weight but the test performances in South Africa are changing that perception globally. The senior players seem to have lost their passion for the silver fern and the board is a shambles. Time for a clean out. Let s get some former players on to the board who know something about the game, its grassroots, the fans and what playing for New Zealand means. We are now bracketed with Bangladesh and Zim- babwe as minnows of the game and it won t be long before the top associates like Ireland and Afghanistan come knocking at the door to play the Black Caps and prove they can beat them.
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