By Niall Anderson in Sydney
Black Caps coach Gary Stead has hit back at critics calling for sweeping changes after his side's embarrassing series whitewash at the hands of Australia.
The Black Caps' displays in three heavy defeats have drawn criticism from all comers, with arguments for significant alterations to both team and tactics after the limp losses, but Stead believes making wholesale changes would be counter-productive.
"I think it would be silly to have kneejerk reactions around coming to Australia, which I would say is one of the two toughest places in the world to come," Stead argued.
"It's not like we have thousands of thousands of cricketers in a population base that allows us to make wholesale changes. In terms of our programs we need to be very smart in how we use our resources and financially put our money in the right places to grow our cricketers."
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The Black Caps have come under fire for poor preparation leading into the series, including the lack of a warm-up game before the tour began in Perth. But, with no statistical proof that warm-up games increase a side's chances of success, Stead sees no point in delving into hindsight.
"We make decisions at the time on what we think the best way is to prepare players for the tour. Before here, we'd come off two long and pretty bruising tests against England, and we thought at the time that a little bit of mental refreshment was probably the thing that was needed. We still got time to train under lights at Perth as well. You could argue a game might have helped – it may not have either, it may have made it worse. They're the things you can always speculate on, but you actually never really know."
What is known – and recognised by all in the New Zealand camp – is that they were outclassed, and Stead acknowledges that it has left plenty of hurt within the team.
"There's no doubt the team has taken a bit of a confidence knock. But we've played some very good test series in New Zealand, and even after this – it's still likely to make a small chink in the armour – but we've got to go back and regroup, dress ourselves down a wee bit, have a look in the mirror and say 'How can we keep getting better?'
"We had clear plans on what we're trying to do – Australia were just better than us."
It doesn't get much easier on the test front, with a tough series against India coming up next month, but Stead doesn't expect too many lingering after-effects from the demoralising defeats in Australia.
"The team's a tight-knit team, we've been through tough times before and managed to come through the other side of it, and I don't expect it'll be any different this time.
"They're united, they'll work hard together, they'll work hard for each other, and they'll work hard for our country."