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

Mark Richardson: Series shows we have depth


Once again flat batting conditions exposed the Black Caps' lack of firepower and ability to take 20 wickets. However, it is unfair to be too critical, given the last day rain-out, with the Kiwis denied a go at the Bangladesh tail.

The New Zealanders won't be cockahoop about their test results but Bangladesh are not total easybeats in their own conditions either so there are a few positives to draw from the two-test series.

Could it be we now have a little depth developing? Ish Sodhi made me take notice in the first innings and in that spell of bowling he convinced me we may have a viable wrist spin option on our hands now.

I will admit I favoured dropping Cory Anderson for Neil Wagner to allow Bruce Martin to play this test along with the extra specialist seamer. I am not going to concede the theory was wrong but I am quite happy for Anderson to prove he is every bit worthy of his place.

The upshot of these two new players performing with distinction is that the selectors now have options to pick rather than punts to make. Looking at the batting you can now factor Martin Guptill and even more significantly a re-motivated Jesse Ryder into the mix. Both these players offer top and middle order skills.

So Peter Fulton, Hamish Rutherford, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Brendon McCullum and Cory Anderson, together with Ryder and Guptill gives you eight top six batting options - all of whom have performed on the international stage.

BJ Watling has been a revelation as a wicketkeeping batsman and quite simply is worth his weight in gold ... and long may he continue in the role he currently plays.

To the bowling and Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Tim Southee and Neil Wagner provide four honest and trustworthy options. I'd still like a tearaway in the mix but you can't have everything. If Anderson can hold together physically and bat at six he may provide that synergy-producing fourth quick option without having to compromise in the spin department.

Sodhi provides that missing X factor in the attack that I have been looking for for some time now.

Just imagine him in tandem with the unquestionably reliable Daniel Vettori. Given that both these guys bat well and you get a double whammy of contribution.

The depth and balance in this test squad is beginning to appear and I have given them the benefit of the doubt here - so the next task is for them to raise their own games to the point that we all feel just as positive at the end of the Indian tour, not the warm-up that is Bangladesh.

- 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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