Mark Richardson 's Opinion

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

Mark Richardson: Softly, softly looks to be the tactic for Caps

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Jesse Ryder. Photo / Dean Purcell
Jesse Ryder. Photo / Dean Purcell

Other than the exclusion of Jesse Ryder for form reasons, not behaviour reasons, there was little to be surprised about in the test 13 for Dunedin.

I don't agree with Ryder being left out if it is not for disciplinary reasons. He has too much of a proven track record in test cricket. However it is likely Rob Nicol will get a start and I'm excited about that.

What I am not excited about is what the selection tells me. It tells me that these test matches are more than likely going to be played on slowish, green seaming conditions. I agree with that if all I cared about was bringing the gap between the teams closer and trying to nullify the advantage the extra pace South Africans have over the Black Caps.

However I don't agree this is the way forward for New Zealand as a test nation and don't believe seeing batsmen poke and prod or take their chances and slog is a particularly good spectacle.

Why I believe low slow seamers will be the go is based on selection's 12 and 13; Andrew Ellis and Brent Arnel.

If conditions are a bit stodgy and getting the ball up to the bat straight and letting the track do the work is the go, then Arnel comes into his own. Ellis' medium pace becomes quite threatening in soft conditions. Seeing those two names in the list as opposed to an extra spin option like Taran Nathula or Jeetan Patel and perhaps one of the quicker lads like Andy McKay, suggests to me flat tracks or good pacey numbers like some of the limited overs tracks are not being ordered from the grounds staff at Dunedin, Hamilton and Wellington.

Most groundsmen argue that they simply try to produce good honest cricket surfaces. But when you see the usually straw coloured and flat-as, Mclean Park in Napier look, so green for the Zimbabwe test then you have to assume the message from NZC is maybe getting through.

If the theory is that slow, green seamers could be the best way to go for the Black Caps then I'd suggest Dunedin could be the best chance to win a test. Even if a little green The Basin and Seddon Park will flatten out to batting surfaces at some stage but University Oval could move around all game.

So let's assume I'm right and Dunedin is a stodgy pitch, this is the team I'd go with in batting order: Guptill, McCullum, Williamson, Taylor, Nicol, Vettori, Watling, Ellis, Bracewell, Boult and Martin.

It's a big gamble to leave Tim Southee out but I feel he has not been at his best of late and Boult gets the nod to provide the left arm variation. Ellis strengthens the batting and is the work-horse and Williamson remains at three and must make that his own for years to come.

- Herald on Sunday

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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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