NZ players need better coaching - Siddons
Jamie Siddons, the former Bangladesh coach who is now in charge of Wellington, has questioned whether coaching standards in New Zealand are up to providing players, particularly batsmen, for the national side who can cope in alien conditions. After New Zealand suffered a second ODI whitewash against Bangladesh, Siddons suggested that the team's overall skill levels were not high enough.
Siddons was in charge of Bangladesh when New Zealand lost 4-0 on tour in 2010 and he said that little seemed to have changed when it came to playing on foreign pitches. Having been involved in New Zealand's domestic set-up for more than two years, he pinpointed "the coaching ... the technical side of things", as well as saying that soporific surfaces at home were part of the problem, with batsmen only comfortable when "it's not swinging and it's not spinning".
"It looked pretty similar," Siddons said of New Zealand's efforts, three years after their last visit to Bangladesh. "The conditions are a bit foreign to the boys, not that they turned a lot, just slower pace and facing some reasonable spinners with a bit of variation."
"I don't think [Bangladesh] were clearly better. I think they utilise their conditions pretty well and we weren't prepared for it or good enough to handle it."
Despite some encouraging results under the captaincy of Brendon McCullum - New Zealand beat England and South Africa in away ODI series earlier this year and drew with England in the home Tests - a fragility in the batting has been a repeated motif. Even when they managed to pass 300 in the third match against Bangladesh, their opponents overhauled the target with four wickets and four balls in hand.
"We need to practice tougher. We need to have wickets that turn, practice how to face faster bowling and swing bowling," Siddons said. "As soon as it's tough your batsmen are vulnerable and it's the coaching, it's the technical side of things, it's the mindset. It's certainly not mental.
"I hear a lot of people say it's mental problems with the players, but everyone's trying. These guys don't get out because of mental mistakes, it's the skill levels. It's hard work on the road. Those guys will come back here and it's flat and it's not swinging and it's not spinning and they'll be okay. But as soon as you go away and you're under pressure again against something you haven't practised against, then you'll have problems."
Despite being generally competitive in one-day cricket, New Zealand were dismissed for 45 in the Cape Town Test at the start of 2013 and then 68 at Lord's in May. They also only managed to scrape past Sri Lanka's total of 138 in Cardiff during the Champions Trophy, a tournament which they exited at the group stage.
Siddons, who amassed 11,587 first-class runs and was capped once by Australia during his playing career before going on to be his country's batting coach, acknowledged that it was difficult for Mike Hesson and his New Zealand staff to make technical corrections while on tour. The problems arose further down the system, he said.
"It's near-impossible - they're supposed to be ready when they get there. Supposed to be," he said. "Under our system I'm supposed to have these guys ready and they ask me about my guys and I tell them the truth. I say he's not ready, he's not going to be successful, wait, give him time, he's got this problem, he's got that problem.
"They [New Zealand's coaches] can get them up and talk about plans and stuff, but if they haven't got that ability to run down the wicket, they can't run down the wicket. If they don't have the sweep shot before they get there, they're not going to develop one."