Cricket: Cricket boss bags NZ batting performance

By David Leggat

NZC chief executive David White. Photo / Getty Images
NZC chief executive David White. Photo / Getty Images

Cricket boss David White has questioned the performance of New Zealand's batsmen in their soft, first-test routing by Sri Lanka.

New Zealand, having started the third day on an even footing with the hosts, lost nine for 83 in 31.5 overs to hand Sri Lanka a 10-wicket win.

It was New Zealand's fifth successive test loss, only the second time in history that embarrassing mark has been reached.

And New Zealand Cricket chief executive White was offering no excuses yesterday.

"I understand the anger and frustration of the fans," the former test batsman said. "What was particularly concerning was the lack of resistance we showed after a good bowling performance the day before.

"To lose all those wickets in such a short time was a big concern."

White was reluctant to specify mental or technical shortcomings as the prime cause, preferring to defer to NZC manger of cricket John Buchanan, who is in Sri Lanka, and coach Mike Hesson.

"But there's no question we've got some areas of technique we need to address around spin bowling. There's a common theme coming through and certainly I'll be discussing that with them on their return."

White did confirm there was support for sending players to the sub-continent during the New Zealand winter to gain knowledge on how to play spin bowling, in particular.

"The way we attack spin is going to be crucial, and being positive," captain Ross Taylor said before the test. "Obviously a lot of teams think it's a weakness of ours. But if we can show it as a strength, play positive and aggressive cricket to their spinners, it all bodes well."

In fact, the opposite happened and the perception of New Zealand batsmen against quality spin bowling has only hardened.

It seems daft to ignore the fact a large chunk of New Zealand's cricket is played in that part of the world.

In the course of the five losses in the West Indies, India and now Sri Lanka, 62 of the 100 New Zealand wickets have been taken by spinners.

New Zealand have appeared clueless in how to handle the likes of West Indian Sunil Narine, Indians Ravi Ashwin and Pragyan Ojya and now 11-wicket Sri Lankan hero Rangana Herath.

White strongly refuted any suggestion that captain Ross Taylor should be in the firing line for the weak collective batting performance.

"I think we are all accountable in the organisation, me as CEO, John Buchanan, Mike Hesson and the players, and no one is going to hide from that responsibility."

However, he disputed that New Zealand's image as a major test-playing nation was being significantly tarnished by recent results.

"No, I think there is still a degree of respect there, but we need to continue to earn that respect and enhance it. It hasn't been a good few years, no question of that.

"There's no room for excuses. We need to be stronger, address it and turn it around."

The second test starts in Colombo on Sunday.

- NZ Herald

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