Thursday, January 17, 2013

Dom-Post on the Black Caps

The leader writer at the Dominion-Post must by a frustrated fan of the New Zealand cricket team as we are; check this out:

Only the most optimistic Black Caps supporters would have bet on the team winning the test series against South Africa. However, all fans had a right to expect the side would at least put up a decent fight.
Instead, they were subjected to abysmal performances from a woefully ill-prepared rabble that lacks basic skills, leadership and direction.
The torrid net sessions the Black Caps embarked on after they were thrashed inside three days in the first test illustrated the complete disarray into which New Zealand Cricket has plunged.
In the training runs, batsmen were subjected to hostile bowling in a bid to replicate the attack that had destroyed the side at Newlands. It was as if the speed and guile of South Africa's pacemen had taken the tourists completely by surprise, despite it being a major talking point of world cricket.
Coach Mike Hesson's comment that the team had only just discovered that intense training sessions were what they needed was equally telling.
If he has been operating under the mistaken belief that players can get by against the world's best sides without being challenged and taken out of their comfort zones in training, it is little wonder the Black Caps have sunk to such depths. Then again, this is the same coach who thought the appropriate time to tell Ross Taylor that he would be dropped as captain was days before the start of a difficult test series in Sri Lanka.
Hesson's questionable style is symptomatic of a wider malaise within New Zealand Cricket. That chief executive David White and chairman Chris Moller did not take him to task for the disgraceful way Taylor was treated speaks volumes.
Serious discrepancies between Taylor and Hesson's version of the conversation in Sri Lanka have also not been explained. Hesson says he wanted to keep Taylor as the captain for tests, but Taylor insists that was never relayed to him.
Someone is not telling the truth. 

Someone is indeed not telling the truth. And despite Richard Boock's attack on him at the weekend, we have no reason to believe that the person not telling the truth is sacked captain Ross Taylor.

The thrashing at Cape Town was bad enough. But if anything, the loss at Port Elizabeth was even worse. Far from having to bat first on a green-top, the New Zealand side batted second, on a far more docile pitch than Newlands. Yet still they were bowled out cheaply. Only a last-wicket stand between BJ Watling and Trent Boult prevented the Black Caps from registering the lowest-ever first innings score at St George's Park. 

But the issues do indeed go well beyond the players or even the coaches. Since Martin Snedden's departure to run the 2011 RWC, New Zealand Cricket has suffered from a crisis in leadership. The Justin Vaughan years will not be remembered with any fondness, and whilst we had high hopes that David White might turn things around, that has not happened. The Dom-Post reflects on this in closing:

Two weeks ago, director of cricket John Buchanan said disasters like the Newlands test would recur unless New Zealand Cricket addressed four issues: integrity, trust, honesty and accountability. His words proved prophetic as the side crashed to another innings defeat on Monday.
Buchanan's reading of the turmoil within the sport's governing body is absolutely correct.
New Zealand Cricket lacks integrity, shown in the appalling way Taylor was treated. It lacks trust, demonstrated in the undermining of Taylor by players who wanted him demoted.
It lacks honesty. That shows in the way Hesson has sought to make excuses for his team's inadequacies, instead of admitting that he failed to prepare them properly for South Africa.
And it lacks accountability. That shows in the fact that, although cricket in this country  is in crisis, nobody in a position of leadership has been held responsible.
New Zealand Cricket needs a cleanout, not so much in the dressing room but in the boardroom and back office. 

We could not agree more. Urgent change is required, and as the Dom-Post notes it must start in the board room and the NZC offices. Until there is significant organisational change, it is futile to expect that there will be meaningful change in our success on the field. NZC is its own worst enemy.

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