Andrew Alderson

Andrew Alderson is a sport writer for the Herald on Sunday.

Cricket: Four ways the Black Caps could improve

The NZ 50-over cricket side has a solid core heading for the 2015 World Cup after wins against the Windies. Andrew Alderson looks at four ideas to complement a winning formula.

Mitchell McClenaghan of New Zealand celebrates the wicket of Denesh Ramdin of the West Indies during the first One Day International match between New Zealand and the West Indies. Photo / Getty Images
Mitchell McClenaghan of New Zealand celebrates the wicket of Denesh Ramdin of the West Indies during the first One Day International match between New Zealand and the West Indies. Photo / Getty Images

1 Appoint designated hitter
Mitchell McClenaghan has licence to bowl for wickets; is anyone given similar carte blanche to go for runs? Brendon McCullum seems the obvious candidate. As captain who has played 223 ODIs he doesn't have the inhibitions of a younger player trying to hold a spot or build an average. Examples have come from his last three matches. In Queenstown he drilled 33 off 11 floating at No 3 in Kane Williamson's absence; in Nelson he hit 14 off nine coming in during the 42nd over with a competitive total on the way to being established; in Auckland he settled a mediocre innings with 51, having entered at 10 for three.

2 Maximise the powerplays
The three matches against the West Indies have produced mixed results. New Zealand hoed in at the abridged Queenstown match, making 48 from four overs and 40 from two overs. At Auckland it was 20 for three from the first 10 and 18 without loss as they tried to consolidate during the latter five.

In Nelson it was 38 and 38. The results were similarly erratic in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

3 Include Trent Boult
This might be tempting fate given Boult's test prowess and the fact there's already a decent pace bowling trio. Boult has just six wickets at 47.66 in eight ODIs but seven of those matches were played in the West Indies and Sri Lanka during 2012 with a side nowhere near as assured. Boult's confidence has skyrocketed since, his fitness is supreme and if it's good enough for Tim Southee, surely Boult should be in the reckoning. There are two slight problems: Mitchell McClenaghan had the sixth best bowling average in the world last year (40 wickets at 19.02) for those who had taken over 10 wickets and Kyle Mills was also consistent with 24 wickets at 29.20. Boult would need to be wedged in.

4 Luke Ronchi dominates
To further establish his confidence and earn credibility it is imperative Ronchi takes a game in the balance and wrests control. His keeping has been sound throughout his 13-match New Zealand career but a batting average of 15.10 sits awkwardly when competition like BJ Watling sits on the periphery. Ronchi suffered an awkward time opening and looks more comfortable down the order. His 49 to assist New Zealand to a last-ball victory against Sri Lanka in Hambantota was promising. He seems on the cusp of dominating the latter overs of an innings but, before long, he needs more than a cameo to own his spot.

- NZ Herald

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