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Andrew Alderson: Heat on NZC as Indian summer approaches

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

There are three priorities which, if enacted, can leverage respect for the new New Zealand Cricket board and the governing body as a whole.

Those priorities are: preserving the importance of test cricket, ensuring the sport is showcased effectively at the 2015 World Cup and committing to development tours of the Asian subcontinent.

The release of the itinerary for the Indian tour made a mockery of test cricket's eminence.

A three-test tour was reduced to two but space was created for an excessive and largely meaningless series of five one-dayers.

NZC chief executive David White suggested in a press release: "It's brilliant that the Black Caps will be playing five ODIs against the world's top one day side given the proximity of Cricket World Cup in 2015."

For purists, the reality behind the spin is that the outcome is disappointing. The World Cup will still be a year away but it highlights the pressure smaller cricketing nations like New Zealand face to acquiesce to the demands of India, whose broadcasters are likely to benefit from more revenue because day-night ODIs are easier to market in the local time zone.

Test cricket has received lip service. The trouble is, NZC can do little about it other than argue behind closed doors at the International Cricket Council's headquarters in Dubai.

The ICC's future tours programme looks toothless. Fortunately the administrators of South Africa and England over the past two summers could see the benefit of tests (as numbers 1 and 2 in the world) and opted for a three test, ODI and Twenty20 format to keep the majority of fans happy.

The new board, especially with the addition of administrative heavyweights such as Martin Snedden, can make a difference by stressing the sovereignty of tests is a way to help the organisation reconnect with fans.

In addition, the eight board members will be aware how much the 1992 World Cup galvanised the nation and gave the sport a welcome injection of goodwill. Cricket in New Zealand hasn't seen a repeat of such bonhomie since.

NZC will not get a better chance to showcase the sport thanks to the negotiation skills of former board member and New Zealand 2015 World Cup boss Therese Walsh and her team. If cricket can't captivate the nation with 23 of the 49 matches at home - including a quarter-final, semifinal and home match against Australia - then dreams of a renaissance are lost.

Finally, the board needs to recognise the value of sending teams to improve their skills playing on the subcontinent. The decision to send a development side this year is a welcome move which will hopefully pay dividends in Bangladesh next month and in future with four of the ICC's test member countries based in that region. Getting as many top players as possible to experience those different climate and pitch conditions must be beneficial.

Such experiences could also be arranged via scholarships to clubs and academies or stuffing whites into backpacks on an OE; basically anything to immerse them into the environment. NZC needs to aim for a point where the prospect of heading to the sub-continent no longer generates shock or fills players with angst. That's a prime way for better international results and rankings to be achieved.

- Herald on Sunday

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Covers sport across NZME's print, digital and radio brands.

Andrew writes and broadcasts on cricket and the Olympic disciplines for NZME's print, digital, video and radio platforms. His most recent project followed New Zealand sportspeople competing in Europe during the 2015 northern summer. He has attended four cricket World Cups, three Olympics and regularly works as a correspondent overseas.

Read more by Andrew Alderson

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