Cricket: Giving rotation a rest for Caps

By Anendra Singh


Call it rest or rotation, New Zealand Cricket director of cricket John Buchanan believes it's not the way to go.

"If, for instance, you look at the way the Australians are using rotation in bringing in and out quick bowlers then it's certainly not the right way of doing it," the former Australian coach said not long after leaving the Plunket Shield match in Napier yesterday.

Buchanan, who drove down here from Auckland on Tuesday not long after returning from Sri Lanka, said yesterday from Tauranga it was imperative for the Black Caps to be placed on a 12 to 24-month player programme that would even be a build up to World Cup tournaments.

Convenor of selectors Kim Littlejohn, with New Zealand coach Mike Hesson and his assistants, will be saddled with the responsibility of spearheading the drive towards establishing the player programme.

Buchanan felt pigeon-holing players as shorter or longer format specialists wasn't ideal.

"I was talking to [Sanath] Jaysuria and Rusty [Russell] Arnold in Sri Lanka the other day about it and they were telling me players who were part of the rest-and-rotation policy and were selected for one format or another often came into the season under-prepared even on their home soil because their domestic season doesn't start until December," he said of the former Sri Lankan internationals who are part of a TV commentary panel covering the New Zealand touring team's series.

Focusing on players just game by game or series by series and down to the domestic level "means we can get a better handle on players ... on the whole".

The omission of CD allrounder Doug Bracewell, Auckland batsman Martin Guptill and ND batsman Kane Williamson in the shorter format became a subject for debate when the Kiwis departed for Sri Lanka.

Test cricket, he said, was still very much the yardstick for players to aspire to.

Buchanan emphasised the subcontinent remained a hostile environment for teams to tour.

"I guess, players have to be right on the money at the end of the season. The lead-up was less than ideal with the amount of time, so it was pretty difficult to make adjustments."

He felt the hosts had stuck to a true-and-tried method of using the new ball with effect before chucking it to spinners to dictate terms, something the Kiwis had quickly learned and done with aplomb in the second test.

Buchanan reiterated the New Zealand top order was lacking in showing consistency and stick-ability in forging significant partnerships and amassing solid totals.

"It needs to find some consistency and Ross [Taylor] is the key in that ," he said of the CD Stag and Caps skipper.

He doesn't believe there will ever be an ideal time to prepare for the subcontinent but feels that New Zealanders have been guilty of "chopping and changing too quick for a number of years", dated to the John Wright era amid defeats.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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