Herein lies the damned-if-you-do and damned-if-you-don't scenario the Black Caps find themselves in before asking for middle and leg against Australia on Sunday and then hosts England next week at the ICC Cricket World Cup.

Do you now make changes in the remaining matches to look at the bigger picture of making the semifinals in the quest for a maiden ODI crown or stick to the same mantra?

It seems the ideal time to pull out the Petri dish to dissect the ugly frog would have been when the New Zealanders were facing Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, South Africa or even the West Indies to avoid a lucky-dip situation.

It's refreshingly honest for captain Kane Williamson and coach Gary Stead, something no doubt they do religiously, to accept they had blundered in not picking leg spinner Ish Sodhi when Pakistan burst their bubble with a six-wicket victory on Thursday.

Advertisement

Still in my PJs when I was watching on TV the post mortem on the loss, I heard something along the lines of commentator and former international Simon Doull remarking how former Black Caps spinner Jeetan Patel had allegedly led the Kiwis astray from a wicket that was going to turn.

It prompted Williamson to roll his arms for eight overs for Mohammed Hafeez's scalp.

Perhaps I was imagining the Patel part, considering the veteran tweaker was the king of the turf when he competed at the elite English county level after previous coach Mike Hesson and his predecessors had left him high and dry.

Payback time? Nah, it sounds too infantile.

The mind does stutter a little, especially on frosty mornings when you've fallen asleep at 1.30am and woken up around 5am to see Black Caps openers Martin Guptill and Colin Munro come and go faster than pedestrians crossing at a busy traffic intersection.

I suppose it hardly matters what Patel, or anyone else for that matter, might have said because it doesn't detract from the fact that New Zealand have failed to tinker with their line-up.

To express fear in bringing "out-of-touch players", such as Sodhi, Tim Southee and Henry Nicholls, into the equation is tantamount to building comfort zones at venues where curators have and will dictate terms, not to mention the ploy to bring boundary ropes in to entice batsmen to play lusty sixes to boost TV ratings.

I suppose you have to spare a thought for post-match TV presenter Laura McGoldrick for not having to ask hubby Guptill yet on why he and Munro haven't been firing.

Advertisement

Guptill, after all, had lobbied for Munro to open with him before pummelling Bangladesh at McLean Park, Napier, in February.

"We want to go out to play our natural game," he had said in alluding to the ball-one mentality.

Ironically India had already shown it paid to prescribe to some restraint as openers who tended to catch up on the ball/run ratio once they had got their eye in after respecting the good balls.

If Jason Behrendorff can come in to rip apart England for a five-for haul in his first outing and India can ease in veteran Mohammed Shami to take a hat trick of wickets then what's the Caps' consternation with tinkering with their line-up?

Tom Latham, though, is the exception because the burning question is do you have a better wicketkeeper?

I say damned-if-you-do is the way to go in exposing everyone to games where the wicket variables change dramatically.

Ishant Sodhi in the second cricket ODI vs India at the Bay oval this year. Kane Williamson acknowledged after NZ's defeat by Pakistan that Sodhi would have been useful. Photo / Andrew Warner
Ishant Sodhi in the second cricket ODI vs India at the Bay oval this year. Kane Williamson acknowledged after NZ's defeat by Pakistan that Sodhi would have been useful. Photo / Andrew Warner