NZ needs more opportunity to show its class

The Black Caps have played 15 two-test series in the last six years. Photo: Getty Images
The Black Caps have played 15 two-test series in the last six years. Photo: Getty Images
You have to wonder what more the Black Caps have to do to get a three-test series.

Yesterday’s announcement of a series against England in June brought plenty to be excited about.

The best team New Zealand has produced has a chance to go to the home one of the sport’s powers for a chance to knock it off.

The Black Caps play at Lord’s on June 2-6 and then Edgbaston on June 10-14. The test championship final is believed to be later in June.

So yet again New Zealand is in a two test series. It leaves you feeling a little short-changed as a cricket fan.

Since the Black Caps’ most recent test series in England - two tests in May 2015 - the side has played 21 series.

Just six of those have been of three tests. Fifteen have been two.

In contrast Australia has played just five two-test series, England has played six and India has played four. All have played multiple four and five-test series against each other.

New Zealand has played 47 tests in that time. England has played 75, Australia has played 61 and India has played 59.

See something wrong here?

In years gone by, the Black Caps have been seen as something as the warm-up to main event.

But you cannot say that about this New Zealand team any more.

Aside from the blips against Australia - which has had its own share of blips - this side has been as good as any in the world during that time.

The last time India won a series in New Zealand was 2009. The last time England won here was 2008.

Even last time New Zealand went to England the honours were shared.

You cannot use lack of quality as an excuse.

Certainly it would be more profitable to have a cricket-obsessed country the size of India playing in your backyard. Or bring England and its Barmy Army on tour.

Unfortunately, that is what it likely comes back to.

New Zealand receives its share of limited-overs cricket. But really, who cares?

Twenty20 might sell tickets and attract the casual fan.

But to a genuine cricket fan, the longer format will always reign supreme. It is there you are judged as a cricket nation.

The test series win against England last summer, for example, was a memorable one that will stick out.

Can anyone remember what happened in the limited-overs matches?

Perhaps it is because Kiwis love winners and this test team is a winning one.

It reached No 1 in the world rankings for the first time in history earlier this month.

Of course that drew plenty of backlash on social media, mainly from Australia and India fans.

But both have their drawbacks too.

India was thrashed in New Zealand a year ago.

Australia has a slightly lower winning percentage than New Zealand in the time period above, slightly lower at least.

If this New Zealand team had more opportunity against the top sides, perhaps its class would be clearer.

At the moment, it will just have to be content with winning the matches it has in front of it.

 

Comments

It’s about money. We do not generate the viewer dollars so we get fewer tests. India, England and Australia generate more money playing each other in 4-5 test series than New Zealand would. If we get more games that means less opportunity in a busy calendar to play amongst themselves with the higher revenue those rivalries generate.

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