Ross Taylor. Photo by Reuters
OPINION: Putting a band-aid on a war wound doesn't stop a
soldier from bleeding to death and changing the captain of the
New Zealand cricket team won't gloss over the numerous holes in
Forget the test win over Sri Lanka last week. Sure it was
great, but it was a flash-in-the-pan effort.
New Zealand's problems run deep and it seems preposterous to
think that so much attention is being given to one of the
side's most minor issues.
Ross Taylor's field placements and bowling changes have never
lost New Zealand a cricket test.
This is also a team who slipped to ninth overnight in the
one-day rankings - below Bangladesh.
What is chiefly responsible for the side's downward spiral in
recent seasons is their inability to bat for long periods of
time in the whites and face up to the fact that taking 20
wickets without a genuine test-quality spinner isn't easy.
They've also employed a roulette wheel selection policy with
their wicketkeeper and keep mucking Kane Williamson around in
the batting line up.
All of these things are bigger problems than Brendon
McCullum's ambitions to captain the side.
New coach Mike Hesson is a well-known supporter of McCullum,
which is fine.
But the fact remains that McCullum's ongoing inclusion in the
test side as a specialist batsman is only brought about by
the lack of depth on the New Zealand domestic front rather
than his glistening statistics.
Since November, 2010 - spanning 35 test innings - following
on from when McCullum finally got his wish to bat at the top
of the order he has made just one test hundred.
During the past 15 tests he has averaged 30.92 with the bat.
If there's an issue that Hesson needs to look in to fixing
its getting his favourite pupil to fire with the willow.
Hesson should also find a magic formula to get Martin Guptill
to turn his starts in to centuries and find more reliable
options at No 5 and 6 in the test line-up or somehow coax
Jesse Ryder back to the international fray.
The spin bowling is another aspect that needs to be worked
out before Hesson worries about his skipper.
Daniel Vettori wants to keep playing test matches and his
retirement from the shorter forms of the game at
international level to prolong his career is admirable in
theory but flawed in application.
Following his numerous back injuries and action changes, he
has become far less efficient as a wicket-taking test bowler.
During the past three years he has taken 49 wickets at an
average of 40.81 (his career mark is 34.42), while his strike
rate has ballooned to one wicket per 102 balls compared to
his career figure of 80.
Vettori's numbers in the one-day game were actually on the
improve before he pulled the pin after the 2011 World Cup and
you'd be a brave coach to cut the champion left-armer loose
but his desire to be the side's premier test spinner is
holding the team to ransom.
The 33-year-old could make the test side - at a stretch - as
their second spinner and bat at No 6 but if he is unavailable
for the upcoming tour to South Africa due to injury more time
needs to be put in to Todd Astle; Jeetan Patel isn't the
Williamson also needs to be given clearer direction about
what he should be contributing to the team.
Having him in the Twenty20 line-up as an insurance policy to
steady the ship if the top order fails is flawed logic and he
should be left to concentrate on his ability to bat at No 3
in the test side and play from No 5 in the one-day unit.
As for the wicketkeeping debacle, Kruger van Wyk's days must
be numbered. Pick BJ Watling and stick with him.