Cricket: Kiwis don't want pop-guns

It looks good on paper but New Zealand's 130-run one-day romp over a depleted Derbyshire yesterday illustrates the tourists' frustration at the quality of opposition they encounter in the lead up to test matches.

The top order, barring captain Stephen Fleming, improved their tour averages as they amassed an impregnable 369 for six but the value of the victory has not been overestimated by the Black Caps management.

Team manager John Graham said the win was comprehensive but tempered the celebrations.

"You have to recognise the county put out a side nowhere near full strength. The boundaries were very short and it suited a batsman like Craig McMillan.

The Cantabrian, under pressure to keep his place in the test lineup, top- scored with 86 from just 69 balls.

While McMillan spent "some useful time in the middle" the player acknowledged profiting from a pop-gun attack.

And Graham doubted the relevance of playing one-day matches against deliberately weakened opposition.

"It's not great preparation for four-day or five-day cricket. In many ways the one-day games we have to play after each test don't fit sensibly into the schedule."

He added that it was "extremely frustrating" the counties were not putting out their top sides.

Graham said the county sides rested their premier fast bowlers - because they wanted to concentrate on making the nine-team top division of the revamped county championship next season.

New Zealand are powerless to insist the counties turn out their best players.

"We can't complain but I'll be reporting to the New Zealand board that it was disappointing and frustrating that some of the sides we met here weren't at full strength."

Test openers Matt Horne and Matthew Bell emphasised the ease of the scoring off the Derbyshire attack - minus former test pacemen Dominic Cork and Phil DeFreitas - compiling 73 (56 balls) and 70 (86) respectively to kick off the run gathering in explosive style.

Nathan Astle smacked 34 off just 13 balls during the final overs.

In reply, Derbyshire closed on 239 for eight with opener Adrian Rollins stroking an unbeaten 111.

Meanwhile, swing bowler Simon Doull will play in the four-day match with Leicestershire starting Friday night (NZ time) after recovering from injury.

Coach Steve Rixon said Doull, who has not played since the first test loss at Edgbaston, would be used sparingly and may only bowl in one innings.

The match also gives allrounder Chris Harris another chance to push his claims for selection in the third test team at Manchester - possibly at the expense of McMillan.

Harris' slow bowling may provide another bowling option as the Old Trafford pitch is expected to take turn. - NZPA

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