Cricket: Fans are expecting more, says White

By David Leggat

New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White. Photo / Sarah Ivey
New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White. Photo / Sarah Ivey

New Zealand's cricket public now have a heightened expectation of performance from their national team, according to cricket boss David White.

He's been disappointed with New Zealand's form in India, which now runs at four straight defeats in test and ODI formats going into tonight's second 50-over clash at Delhi's Feroz Shah Kotla, but doesn't agree that unless they stop the rot they'll have lost a chunk of goodwill with the fans before the start of the home international summer.

"I'm not sure about that," White, who was in India for part of the test series, said yesterday. "The team would agree they haven't performed to the level they'd like to.

"Our fans have higher expectations now and that's good. We accept that. That's been on the back of what the team has done in the last two or three years. It is a challenge for our guys, they need to turn it around and I know [coach] Mike Hesson and [captain] Kane Williamson are desperate to do that."

New Zealand are ranked third in the ODI game, one point and one place above India. That will change unless something dramatic changes within the Black Caps, starting tonight. New Zealand's ODI record at the Feroz Shah Kotla ground, with its distinctive sloping grandstand at one end, is poor - played two ODIs, lost both, in 1994 and 1999. They've had a draw (1955) and loss (1965) in the two tests there.

India seem to be holding all the aces right now and New Zealand are in a funk.

Once again the scrutiny will be on the batsmen.

The bowlers have been steady, the fielding tidy but the batsmen have let the group down repeatedly.

Captain Kane Williamson, senior man Ross Taylor and opener Martin Guptill must deliver. Williamson is ranked fifth in the ODI game, Guptill, for all his red ball worries, is sixth and Taylor 14th.

Expect bowlers Trent Boult and Matt Henry, who sat out the opening ODI, to be in the frame for tonight, on the basis of rotation in the early stages of a long season, with batting allrounder Anton Devcich and BJ Watling to get a chance at some point.

New Zealand were rolled for 190 with 6.1 overs unbowled in Dharamsala, the batting a major disappointment, save Tom Latham's unbeaten 79 and Tim Southee's lusty 55 late on.

It wasn't as if the pitch was poor or the spinners were too good.

In fact with ace turners Ravi Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja sitting out the first three ODIs, India's stand-ins were average.

Unfortunately New Zealand's batting was worse and they had trouble coping with quality fast-medium bowling from Umesh Yadav and debutant Hardik Pandya.

Winning a first toss on tour would be handy, but New Zealand have no excuses now in a format they are generally good at.

- NZ Herald

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