New Zealand players not without blame
After all the analysis of New Zealand's captaincy drama, some of the attention is now turning to the players - the possible role they may have played in the captaincy change and the need for them to take responsibility for their own on-field performances. Mark Richardson writes in the Herald on Sunday:
The team simply cannot use Taylor's leadership as an excuse for their own inadequacies. Too often the players have been allowed to look for scapegoats instead of looking within. Too often their voice has had too much influence. This had better not be another one of those times.
In the same paper, Dylan Cleaver, David Leggat and Andrew Alderson argue that despite the revolving door of high-performance staff, the players must stand up.
But at what point does the onus fall on players to stop worrying about what they haven't got and develop the wherewithal to get better with what they do have? To do what Cairns et al did over a korma and look each other in the eye and say, 'you're not aiming up and it's hurting the team'? It's a point emphasised by former New Zealand coach Warren Lees. He calls it self-reliance, a stunningly simple concept that has got lost among players accustomed to having everything laid on.
Also in the Herald on Sunday, Paul Lewis writes that Mike Hesson and David White must take responsibility for the current mess - but not just them.
So do the Black Caps themselves. For whatever reason (Taylor was too laid back for some in the team; not inspirational enough, so go the whispers carrying on the wind) they have not backed their captain either. We might have to wait for someone's book to find out the politics involved - but the players will not come out of this well.