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

Mark Richardson: ODI plan a stroke of genius

Ross Taylor. Photo / Getty Images
Ross Taylor. Photo / Getty Images

Remember a few years back when the then New Zealand Cricket manager John Buchanan said that the focus had to be on the 2015 World Cup? He was criticised at the time.

Well, his plan would appear to be coming together quite nicely - even if he isn't around to enjoy it - and we seem to be loving this one-day international excellence.

I will temper my enthusiasm for what the Black Caps' ODI team has achieved of late by accepting that the West Indies were awful and India's bowling is about the most runs-accommodating in world one-day cricket - but our boys are still getting the job done.

This is as good a state as our cricket has been in for some time and it is because this team has clarity. Every player appears to know what their role is and knows how to effect it.

The batting of Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor has been an exhibition of proper ODI batting. Failure is inevitable in cricket but the crucial thing now is that individual failure is overcome by the depth of quality throughout the team.

Other bowling attacks would challenge our batsmen more but the belief they now have and the processes they have built will stand them in great stead when they are so challenged.

A lot could change in a year but that should only be from a form perspective. These players will not be worse in February next year and players like Corey Anderson and Jimmy Neesham, I believe, will be accomplished international players with decent experience. If the World Cup was played tomorrow we'd be in with a shot; in a year's time the odds should be shorter.

Now, on to the test matches. India will be a different kettle of fish in the tests because their bowling will be more effective.

They have nippy fast-medium bowlers who will swing the ball and they can add the clever Zaheer Khan. They will challenge the defensive techniques of the Black Cap batsmen more so than in the ODIs but, just like the ODI line-up, I have faith in the stable and more organised appearance of our test team nowadays.

It will be interesting to see if Williamson and Taylor can carry their form through. I believe they will because they have both now made the jump to world-class.

The wickets in Auckland and Wellington will be fair and I suspect the Indian batsmen will quite like the change of pace of not having to bat at a run a ball all the time. They will however, have to deal with a bowling attack that is rested and raring to go.

And has anybody noticed that the players now waiting in the wings are actually look like international players, not typical New Zealand first-class trundlers or block-bashers?

Players like Matt Henry, Adam Milne and Tom Latham suggest that the future is beginning to look very rosy.

- 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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