Mark Richardson 's Opinion

Mark Richardson is a former Black Cap and current columnist for the Herald on Sunday

Mark Richardson: World Cup win not beyond NZ

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Daniel Vettori. Photo / Hawke's Bay Today
Daniel Vettori. Photo / Hawke's Bay Today

How will Daniel Vettori be remembered as a captain? If he wins the World Cup, he'll be rated as one of the greats but right now, at the conclusion of his test reign ... uninspiring.

Maybe that's a little unfair. Yes, I have at times been one of the 'former players' brigade calling out in frustration at Vettori's defensive and conservative style of leadership - and I concede it is easy to be creative and adventurous from the safety of the sidelines.

For most of his time as captain, Vettori has not had the tools that would have given him any sort of confidence to try something out of the ordinary.

Vettori's captaincy has been during a large conundrum. To win test matches with the resources available cried out for adventure and speculation - but the resources (in the bowling department especially) also pointed at containment as the best and only way.

Really, how adventurous can you be when eight times out of 10 you don't have enough runs to play with anyway?

Geoff Howarth, Jeremy Coney and Jeff Crowe had Richard Hadlee and Martin Crowe; Stephen Fleming had Chris Cairns, Dion Nash, Shane Bond, a settled top six and importantly Vettori at a time when his body allowed him to spin the ball. Vettori, however, has never had Bond enough, a top six often in disarray, a lack of penetration and all too often only himself to put the skids on both when batting and bowling.

It's funny how Vettori's batting, which flourished during his time as captain, is almost the polar opposite to his bowling and captaincy style. Unorthodox, attacking, risky, entertaining and highly effective are the words to describe his batting.

Safe describes his bowling and captaincy.

I'm sad he's going to stick to his guns and resign from the captaincy following the World Cup because I would love to have seen him in the role with more at his disposal - which I think is just around the corner.

However, I am thrilled to hear he will continue in the test game because he is, and will continue to be, the rock on which the test team is built.

Can he become the first New Zealand captain to win a World Cup? He sure can.

The World Cup will be won by boundary hitting and attacking slow bowling through the middle overs. In our team those are two boxes I can tick.

Re-jigged batting orders or not, I believe there is enough hitting power in the New Zealand batting to score enough runs. The form over the past few months is nothing more than a collective form slump.

Vettori is one of the finest bowlers in ODI cricket and, what's more, when there is a necessity to score off him, he becomes a genuine wicket taking threat. Defence, defence, defence must be his motto when organising those bowling around him - a mindset that should sit well with him.

When batting, it should be attack, attack, attack. He has the tools so maybe we finally have the real acid test for Daniel Vettori's captaincy.

- Herald on Sunday

Mark Richardson

Mark Richardson is a former Black Cap and current columnist for the Herald on Sunday

Mark Hunter Richardson represented New Zealand in 38 Tests from 2000-2004 racking up an impressive 2,776 runs with an average of 44.7. The former Black Cap began his cricketing career as a left-arm spinner but soon realised that his talents lay with the bat. The transition from ball to bat was seamless and Richardson soon made his international debut against Zimbabwe at the age of 29. Known as a stalwart opener, Richardson’s intelligent style of hard-grind batting came at the perfect time for New Zealand cricket and provided much-needed stability for the Black Caps. Apart from being an excellent opening batsman, Mark Richardson was well-known among fans and team mates for his humorous off-pitch antics and friendly interactions with the famous Beige Brigade, with whom he formed a strong relationship. An excellent cricketer with a personable quality, Richardson once remarked that his retiring first-class average was only different to that of Sir Donald Bradman by a decimal point. Mark Richardson retired from all forms of the game in 2004 and continues to write an insightful, thought-provoking column for the New Zealand Herald.

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