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

Mark Richardson: India must get the message

Brendon McCullum is already a big name in India. Photo / Getty Images
Brendon McCullum is already a big name in India. Photo / Getty Images

It hasn't been the worst start against the might of India - but how important is it to send a message to the overlords of world cricket in this series?

I don't think the bigger picture is as big as one may think.

If the Black Caps were to smash India in this series, the superpower would probably just shrug their shoulders and move on. If they were to smash us, they would most likely do the same.

This is because Indians don't like cricket ... they like Indian cricket. They come out to watch India play, doesn't really matter who they're playing; they just want to watch them play. No matter how good or poor New Zealand is when India play New Zealand, Indians will fill the stadiums and watch on TV. This is why, when India tour, interested parties make money.

Now don't get confused by my saying it's irrelevant what happens when India and New Zealand play - because, while I believe that, the key is to actually to get them here in the first place.

With the way India, England and Australia want to organise the playing schedule, New Zealand have to find a way to make India want to play us regularly.

Indians don't like cricketers ... Indians like cricketing superstars. This is the challenge for our players now. India will want to engage with our humble cricket nation if their population identifies with our cricketers.

And there is hope. Ross Taylor and Brendon McCullum are already big names in India because of their IPL profile - which is exactly what the likes of Martin Guptill, Corey Anderson and Jesse Ryder need to do. These guys have the power to be stars because of their batting power. They need to win over the IPL owners and Indian crowds.

Powerful batting and displays of hitting is key to earning their respect but it's a different kettle of fish for England and Australia. Winning in Australia is vital. If the days of the Future Tours Programme are over, then so too are the days of going to Australia, getting a sound hiding and then thanking them for the lesson.

Going toe to toe with the Aussies in Australia is what must happen and explosive batting will not be enough. It's about total cricket in Australia, aggressive cricket, winning cricket.

The TV rights in Australia are free-to-air rights. Cricket competes with drama, sitcoms and other general programming. Australian Cricket cannot take a chance on lacklustre tourists or bother investing in cricket hosted outside of Australia if it does not rate.

In England they just like quality cricket plain and simple.

So while I'm enjoying our competitive effort right now there is so much improvement that must still happen if we feel we are going to safely suckle at the bosom of India, Australia and England like a surrogate baby.

- Herald on Sunday

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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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