Mark Richardson 's Opinion

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

Mark Richardson: Captaincy change is not the answer

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So the World T20 is over for the Black Caps and England after both had underwhelming tournaments.

England are on the slide and the Black Caps are stuck in the doldrums. When these two sides meet here in New Zealand at the end of the summer, it will be fascinating.

Three players interest me and I believe they will have a large bearing on the outcome of the series.

For England, it will be Kevin Pietersen. England missed him incredibly during their failed defence of the World T20.

The players probably didn't miss his personality but they certainly missed his undeniable skill and scoreboard contribution.

Surely the England and Wales Cricket Board has too much pride in its team's performance to keep Pietersen out of the side - and I note that there are meetings being set up between Pietersen, his team-mates and management to begin the 'reintegration' process.

How will he be accepted by the players after his sporting equivalent of treason?

Probably not well but I don't think that will really matter to him. He appears to me to be an individual solely motivated by individual goals and a desire to be the one in the limelight.

Could he be a target for sledging and maybe for our lads to get under his skin? I don't think so. I reckon Pietersen doesn't think he's done much wrong and I believe he revels in a confrontation. So, for our sake, I hope he and England can't find a resolution because England are way worse off without this fine cricketer.

For New Zealand, Brendon McCullum will be needed. McCullum is a catalyst for performance in this Black Caps team. If he performs, it's match-winning; problem is he doesn't perform enough.

That surely must be the first job for new Black Caps coach Michael Hesson; how to get more out of McCullum.

Hesson knows him well and has worked well with him for Otago but does that mean working with McCullum as captain, too?

I believe making McCullum captain could be the way to go to gain consistency out of this frustrating player. The added responsibility could just be that elusive part in his game.

However, the captaincy is way more than that. It is not just about making McCullum a better player and that is where Ross Taylor comes into the picture.

Taylor is the best player in our team. He is captain and needs time to grow into the role. If the powers-that-be think he is not right, then act now because the last thing we need going into this important series is unanswered questions, tension and division.

There is a similar look to this team to the one that struggled through the mid-1990s. Strong personalities under-performing was the modus operandi.

A strong coach and a maturing captain turned them around and began an era of notable performance which began with a series win against England in 1999.

- Herald on Sunday

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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