Thursday, 3 January 2013

Five quick ways for New Zealand to improve

New Zealand are having a dismal time of it at the moment. All out for 45, and conceding a first innings lead of 302 is a Bangladesh-esque performance, and New Zealand are sinking that way. However, all is not lost, I've got five quick fixes to make them at least half competitive in Test cricket. Surely, if I can think of these, they must be able to?

Get rid of Mike Hesson
I don't know all of the ins and outs of the Taylor/Hesson spat, but it's clear that Hesson's position is untenable. When a similar thing happened in England with Peter Moores and Kevin Pietersen, both were stripped of their jobs. Taylor's lost his (unfairly) so Hesson should be gone.

Get Ross Taylor and Jesse Ryder back into the team
A team with two of its best batsmen missing is never going to compete against the world number one away from home. Taylor's return should be eased by the sacking of Hesson, and a risk may need to be taken on Ryder, because of his talent, a sort of talent that doesn't come around that often for New Zealand.

Sort the batting order (and stick with it)
This isn't an original thought, I'm sticking entirely with the order that The Heavy Roller came up with: Guptill, McCullum, Williamson, Taylor, Ryder, Brownlie, Watling. If you look at that line-up, it may not be the best in the world, but there's a lot of talent, and if you give them all a run, surely they've got to make some runs eventually (wishful thinking I know).

Drop Chris Martin
I like the 'Phantom', he makes me look like a good batsman and is one of the least threatening looking bowlers to have a decent Test career. However, in the first Test against South Africa he's bowled military medium, his leap to the crease belying a speed of under 130kph most of the time. New Zealand have a decent number of young seamers in Southee, Boult, Bracewell, Milne, Wagner and, McClenaghan; at 38 Martin has out-served his purpose. Just let me see him bat once again, that's all I ask.

Pick a spinner (not Jeetan Patel) and stick with him
It's got to the point where a real replacement for Daniel Vettori is needed, and one who is young enough to spend many years in the team. Todd Astle seems like the best fit for that role, a leggie who could bat at seven or eight, and has talent with the ball, as well as age on his side, being six years younger than both Patel and Bruce Martin. Those are the only three real options, with Astle's batting and age giving him the edge.

Do all that and they'll start to look competitive at home, and not complete pushovers away. Not that I expect them to do anything other than bumble along like nothing's wrong.

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