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

Mark Richardson: Making a pitch for the leader board

Trent Boult of New Zealand is congratulated by teammates. Photo / Getty Images
Trent Boult of New Zealand is congratulated by teammates. Photo / Getty Images

That's the way it should be done and I feel like a hypocrite for saying so.

There was a time when I would have said that conditions like we had at the Basin were detrimental to the development of New Zealand Cricket.

I believed that conditions that brought our fast-mediums and along-the-wicket bowlers into the game would do nothing for developing cricketers to take our game forward.

Maybe I'm still right, time will tell, but right now I'm sold on the importance of winning and our best chance of doing that is in our own back yard in conditions like we saw over the past few days.

New Zealand cricket needs to regain its strength at home and the best way to do that is to maintain a home town advantage - and home town advantage looks like what we saw in Wellington.

That was not a bad wicket but, yes, it offered the bowlers assistance. It was in no way unplayable, it was just a case of playing better on it than the tourists.

This is something our cricketers can do.

Our bowlers know what length to bowl and life in the surface most definitely suits them.

Our batsmen have an understanding of the requirements of batting in bowling conditions.

Players from areas where the norm is flat pitches that offer turn struggle to adapt fast enough when touring here and being able to tip them up quickly in our conditions is an advantage we have to take.

Things could have been different in Wellington had we been playing Australia or South Africa with their expert bowling - but we don't beat them in flat conditions, so why not take our chances in a bit of a lottery? However, when it's Sri Lanka, or Pakistan, or the West Indies, I'd say the odds are in our favour when there's life in the pitch. These are the teams we must send packing if we are to climb up the rankings and stay there. I'm not talking about minefields here either, because the Basin Reserve pitch was far from that; I'm just talking about life. That pitch was fair, after all our lot batted first and got 440.

We need to breathe life into our test cricket and a few wins in front of our own people will help no end with that.

Now let's show some courage and put the Indians on a Basin-like pitch.

- 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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