New Zealand news November 5, 2013

NZ players need better coaching - Siddons

ESPNcricinfo staff

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."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Mark on November 7, 2013, 23:08 GMT

    Very Dangerous man, remember Bangladesh sacked this bloke!!! Big High back lifts in Wellington have gone down poorly, young players have moved on because of him, one at age 22 has retired. Be careful he is not the answer!!

  • zubayer on November 6, 2013, 17:36 GMT

    It really hurts when a winning team does not get the expected respect! BD won the ODI series cleanly! Yet we have to hear criticisms!It's really shameful!Everybody in cricket world takes the home ground advantage. Even number 01 team India. Look at the recent past series against Australia. All of the pitches were batting pitches as they have a world class batting lineup against a very poor bawling attack. So, why always BD? People, you should know to respect others as well to get respect. Come n try to see the reality. If we talk about the investment n facilities in cricket, are we near to India, NZ, South Africa, England or Australia? No. But our young players are trying to play good cricket. But you guys? I feel sorry for all of your thinking.

  • Zobair on November 6, 2013, 13:48 GMT

    It seems that he is dreaming to coach the NZ team .. ;)

  • Christopher on November 6, 2013, 10:11 GMT

    I truly feel sorry for Ross Taylor. The batsmen around him drag him down. I can't complain with our bowling though. A lot of young talent there. The one thing I would like too see is Brendon McCullum stepped down from the captaincy and dropped from the test team. The way he bats, and in particular gets out is a bad example to young NZ batters. He is a very good limited overs player but not a test player proven by the fact that he hasn't scored a century in over 3 yrs and is unlikely to score many more.

  • Dummy4 on November 6, 2013, 9:11 GMT

    First time for a long time someone has made a good and relevant point regarding NZ's main and persistent batting problem

  • Tania on November 6, 2013, 6:57 GMT

    @RK204 ..winning once in a bluemoon doesn't give BD to be compared with mighty India.....none of the Big teams want BD tour...cause it will inflate even Jason Gillespi e type players averages...first beat in 3 matches consecutively against any top teams and then harp about your sub standard players...

  • Dummy4 on November 6, 2013, 5:54 GMT

    I think Mr. Siddons feels bit uncomfortable with his current job . NZ was lost previous series and they knew the how the situation is and they suppose to get prepared before this series and they got enough time to get prepared .Foreign condition is a stupid word ,When BD will visit NZ and if they loose they were not suppose say that we lost because of foreign condition .Remember Cricket is an international game and players ,Coach ,Viewers and everyone should believe that from their heart .

  • jared on November 6, 2013, 4:20 GMT

    He's right we need better coaches this includes him after admiting he has no answers. 3 cheap things nz cricket can do that doesn't involve blowing the budget on expensive coaches and will improve our cricket are. 1. Use the duke ball instead of the kookaburra at first class level, it swings more and for longer, force our batters to play the moving ball and force them to tighten their techniques. 2. Juice up our pitches and diversify them, our pitches are all the same from dunedin to auckland and they are flat, make some spin friendly make others seam friendly and a couple batter friendly so our players can adjust to different conditions. 3. Clear selection policy, no batter averaging under 40 at first class level for the past season should be selected for the black caps, no bowler averaging over 32 with the ball should get a look in either, simalar criteria for black caps should be installed, so the best players are selected with no coaches pet projects, that would help and cost nil

  • Mustaquimur on November 6, 2013, 4:20 GMT

    Agreed with RK204. There is nothing wrong with NZ team. In the last game they showed it. In the 1st two game, BD also struggled to get runs. But it was BD spinners who troubled NZ in an alien condition that let NZ down. But I think NZ will do better in upcoming SL tour because they practiced there before the BD series. Good luck for NZ, one of my favorite teams.

  • M.G. on November 5, 2013, 23:46 GMT

    the reason for 3-0 loss, my .02 cents, is that they lost to a better playing bunch on the day, nothing wrong with NZ team, BD improved a lot for their own soil, NZ did performed adequately on all the matches in BD, but that was not enough, that's the fact. It's merely a game, not life and death, Mr. Siddons, NZ may do very well next time. And they might do well in SL next, on their good days, without any change in their coaching, or without employing Mr. Siddons as the next NZ coach...

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