New Zealand in England 2013 May 1, 2013

NZ series more than Ashes entree - Hesson

26

New Zealand slipped into London almost unnoticed on Tuesday, minus their captain Brendon McCullum and senior batsman Ross Taylor who are at the IPL, but are determined to leave their mark on an English season where the main attraction is their trans-Tasman rivals.

"We don't really have anything to do with the Ashes," Kane Williamson, the captain in McCullum's absence, said. It helps, no end, that the series played during March between these two teams was very competitive. Talk about flat pitches killing the game was off the mark - weather was the bigger factor in the first two Tests - and New Zealand came within one wicket of a famous victory in Auckland. That is enough for this return contest to be given the respect it deserves.

Mike Hesson, the New Zealand coach, hopes his team can provide more than a footnote to the summer. "I can guarantee from our perspective these two Tests are massive for us. We are making progress as a side and we certainly wouldn't like to be the entrée for the main course later on."

He was even keen to see the benefits in having two key players arrive late for the tour. McCullum and Taylor are due on May 7 or 8, ahead of the second warm-up match against England Lions at Grace Road. McCullum will still have a role to play in the early days of tour, albeit from thousands of miles away, and is in regular contact with Hesson.

"I'm actually quite happy with it because with a squad of 15 it's quite hard to get everyone a game," he said. "Those guys, although they haven't been playing a lot, they have been training a lot. To get our whole squad involved in those two warm-up games is critical for us. In previous tours we haven't even had any warm-up matches so two is huge. There will be no complaints from us about being underdone."

It is nothing new for a touring side to arrive in England for the May Tests in dribs and drabs - Sri Lanka and West Indies have faced similar situations in recent years - and is unlikely to be the last time it happens. Perhaps there should be a sense of gratefulness, and relief, that McCullum and Taylor will be here in time for the Test series. They are both fascinating sub-plots to the series; McCullum's leadership was a key part of the contest in New Zealand, while Taylor's return to the set-up has been far from smooth.

The abiding memory of the previous series was the dramatic final day where England survived nine wickets down through defiance from Matt Prior, Ian Bell and Stuart Broad - plus Monty Panesar's desperate dive - and the feeling of a fantastic opportunity missed by New Zealand still lingers.

"I've tried to forget about that game to be honest, especially the end of it," Hesson admitted. "We felt we dominated but that's the game. These two Tests will be tough in very different conditions. We gained a lot of confidence, but it was a series in isolation and we can't get carried away."

After the upturn in their fortunes during March, there are unlikely to be many major selection headaches leading into the Test series. Hesson confirmed that Hamish Rutherford and Peter Fulton will continue their opening pairing even though Martin Guptill is in the squad again after injury, so the key decision may come down to whether they retain a spinner - Bruce Martin - in their XI or go with four quick bowlers. Doug Bracewell, who missed the home series after injuring his foot on a piece of glass, and Mark Gillespie are the extra pacemen in the squad.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • SameOld on May 2, 2013, 0:17 GMT

    Looking forward to seeing the NZ bowlers do their thing in English conditions. Probably only one spot for Bracewell, Wagner & Gillespie to fight over (what with NZ's penchant for always - always - playing a spinner (keep in mind that Vettori pulled out just before the Hobart Test, the last time that I recall four seamers playing). Gillespie has a lot of work to do to leap-frog the other two, but a couple of 4-or-5-fors in the warm-ups would give the selectors some headaches. Keen to see how Southee & Boult go with the Duke, too.

    While the batting is always a cause for concern, the outlook is better than it has been in ages. Hopefully Fulton can play some more long innings. Anderson & co. will no doubt have better plans for him this time around, but if he can hang in & let the others bat around him, it'll really improve NZ's chances. Middle order rebirth for Guppy? Like Gillespie, he'll probably have to dominate a warm-up while someone else fails or injures themselves to get a run.

  • 22many on May 3, 2013, 4:26 GMT

    Gagg, dear I say it, but I believe NZ would have won the third test had they had someone else leading that team....not being a smart arse, but truely, NZ missed some very vital moments during that test....hopefully the skipper has learnt from the experence .....even though the Sky hyped up commentators might beg to differ, changing the field placings every two minutes isnt what many would call aggressive captaincy....many would say "look at me captaincy"....the catches taken in the second innings werent in those very unusal postions players were placed but actuallly in the slips etc where you normally expect catches to go....all froth and very little beer.....lets hope NZ can kick on next week and finish the job....England should be very careful this time around.

  • Chris_P on May 2, 2013, 23:44 GMT

    @landl47. That day, the weather & pitch that the Kiwis beat us in Hobart smacked of English conditions. And believe me, the Kiwis were outstanding in their pace bowling, they should have won much easier than they did, & totally outplayed us. If they re-produce anywhere near that form, your guys will get a very good tune-up for the Ashes & I certainly wouldn't be taking them lightly. I'll be watching the series with great interest, I do enjoy test cricket.

  • RednWhiteArmy on May 2, 2013, 19:23 GMT

    I expect a much tougher series against NZ than the ashes.

    NZ actually have a plan.

  • Mitch1066 on May 2, 2013, 18:11 GMT

    England underestimated nz lat time. Seriously doubt they will this time plus it harder for nz there season ended so they need game time remove the rust where English side are starting of there season so hopefully be better condition. Ones in ipl be in condition even though shorter format. I think it be closer then some think but I'd say England hopefully come out on top . Also hopefully it gives us tough game for up coming ashes which also be closer dependent on whether batsmen of Australia can make runs on help that there decent bowlers can give them .

  • RandyOZ on May 2, 2013, 15:48 GMT

    I'd say England are in a lot of trouble, their house of cards will collapse to NZ's medium paced trundlers. No doubt though as per usual they will be saved by rain.

  • sachin_vvsfan on May 2, 2013, 10:09 GMT

    NZ will be entree if Eng could find some new talent in this series. I know ENG wouldn't mind 0-2 but imagine NZ bowlers shattering the likes of Bell (or even injuring them). 0-2 loss with key players getting injured is surely not a way to start the Ashes. Time to show some respect. Go NZ fight it out.

  • on May 2, 2013, 8:31 GMT

    @jonbuoy. that may be the attitute, I cant wait to see the looks on the pommie faces when they lose a test series to NZ for not taking them seriously.

  • on May 2, 2013, 7:34 GMT

    @Landl47, I think the Kiwis are far more likely to swing the ball about than the Aussies. None of the Aussies really swing it consistently whereas Boult will swing it all day I'd expect. Will make for an interesting series.

  • Clarkemen on May 2, 2013, 7:28 GMT

    Predicting kiwis to Beat England.And Cant wait to see poms silent in their ashes confident before the ashes start!Common NZ.

  • SameOld on May 2, 2013, 0:17 GMT

    Looking forward to seeing the NZ bowlers do their thing in English conditions. Probably only one spot for Bracewell, Wagner & Gillespie to fight over (what with NZ's penchant for always - always - playing a spinner (keep in mind that Vettori pulled out just before the Hobart Test, the last time that I recall four seamers playing). Gillespie has a lot of work to do to leap-frog the other two, but a couple of 4-or-5-fors in the warm-ups would give the selectors some headaches. Keen to see how Southee & Boult go with the Duke, too.

    While the batting is always a cause for concern, the outlook is better than it has been in ages. Hopefully Fulton can play some more long innings. Anderson & co. will no doubt have better plans for him this time around, but if he can hang in & let the others bat around him, it'll really improve NZ's chances. Middle order rebirth for Guppy? Like Gillespie, he'll probably have to dominate a warm-up while someone else fails or injures themselves to get a run.

  • 22many on May 3, 2013, 4:26 GMT

    Gagg, dear I say it, but I believe NZ would have won the third test had they had someone else leading that team....not being a smart arse, but truely, NZ missed some very vital moments during that test....hopefully the skipper has learnt from the experence .....even though the Sky hyped up commentators might beg to differ, changing the field placings every two minutes isnt what many would call aggressive captaincy....many would say "look at me captaincy"....the catches taken in the second innings werent in those very unusal postions players were placed but actuallly in the slips etc where you normally expect catches to go....all froth and very little beer.....lets hope NZ can kick on next week and finish the job....England should be very careful this time around.

  • Chris_P on May 2, 2013, 23:44 GMT

    @landl47. That day, the weather & pitch that the Kiwis beat us in Hobart smacked of English conditions. And believe me, the Kiwis were outstanding in their pace bowling, they should have won much easier than they did, & totally outplayed us. If they re-produce anywhere near that form, your guys will get a very good tune-up for the Ashes & I certainly wouldn't be taking them lightly. I'll be watching the series with great interest, I do enjoy test cricket.

  • RednWhiteArmy on May 2, 2013, 19:23 GMT

    I expect a much tougher series against NZ than the ashes.

    NZ actually have a plan.

  • Mitch1066 on May 2, 2013, 18:11 GMT

    England underestimated nz lat time. Seriously doubt they will this time plus it harder for nz there season ended so they need game time remove the rust where English side are starting of there season so hopefully be better condition. Ones in ipl be in condition even though shorter format. I think it be closer then some think but I'd say England hopefully come out on top . Also hopefully it gives us tough game for up coming ashes which also be closer dependent on whether batsmen of Australia can make runs on help that there decent bowlers can give them .

  • RandyOZ on May 2, 2013, 15:48 GMT

    I'd say England are in a lot of trouble, their house of cards will collapse to NZ's medium paced trundlers. No doubt though as per usual they will be saved by rain.

  • sachin_vvsfan on May 2, 2013, 10:09 GMT

    NZ will be entree if Eng could find some new talent in this series. I know ENG wouldn't mind 0-2 but imagine NZ bowlers shattering the likes of Bell (or even injuring them). 0-2 loss with key players getting injured is surely not a way to start the Ashes. Time to show some respect. Go NZ fight it out.

  • on May 2, 2013, 8:31 GMT

    @jonbuoy. that may be the attitute, I cant wait to see the looks on the pommie faces when they lose a test series to NZ for not taking them seriously.

  • on May 2, 2013, 7:34 GMT

    @Landl47, I think the Kiwis are far more likely to swing the ball about than the Aussies. None of the Aussies really swing it consistently whereas Boult will swing it all day I'd expect. Will make for an interesting series.

  • Clarkemen on May 2, 2013, 7:28 GMT

    Predicting kiwis to Beat England.And Cant wait to see poms silent in their ashes confident before the ashes start!Common NZ.

  • StevieS on May 2, 2013, 7:14 GMT

    The last time we played a test against Australia we won, the last time we played a test against England we were unlucky not to win and were definitely the better team throughout the 3 match series. I would be disappointed if we didn't win the series.

  • djdrastic on May 2, 2013, 6:57 GMT

    If England don't whitewash them at home there will be serious questions regarding their form and selection policy for the Ashes.

  • jmcilhinney on May 2, 2013, 6:33 GMT

    Brendan McCullum seems to be doing a good job as Test captain so far and he also has the same right to look after his financial well-being as anyone else but, to me, it seems unacceptable that the Test captain is prioritising the IPL over preparing for a Test series. If he doesn't perform well in the Tests then I very much doubt that he'll concede that lack of preparation was a factor but if they don't need the preparation then why are they in England already? The fact is that his preparation is compromised.

  • jmcilhinney on May 2, 2013, 6:27 GMT

    Some New Zealanders had their noses out of joint because a perceived lack of respect before and during the recent series against England. I'm afraid that people are just going to have to get used to the fact that the Ashes are the most important trophy in cricket for pretty much any player or fan from England or Australia. Even though Australia are ranked lower than SA were when they visited England, there's still more anticipation over the Ashes than there was for the SA series. That's just the way it is. That said, there's no doubt that the series between England and NZ is important for both teams. NZ made some strides at home and they will want to at least hold to that standard if not improve further. England will feel that they didn't play to there potential and will be looking to dominate on home turf. I'm quite sure that all Australians will be honorary NZ fans for that series.

  • AKS286 on May 2, 2013, 6:19 GMT

    Injury is the biggest enemy of NZ cricket. NZ needs more test cricket in overseas. NZ has to make a stable team don't shuffle your players too much. Where is R.Nicol? Rutherford, Fulton, Guptill, Taylor, Williamson, McCullam, Ronchi, Bruce, Southee, Boult, Bracewell. Bruce Martin late debut not good.

  • kiwicricketnut on May 2, 2013, 4:54 GMT

    Not having mccullum and taylor is actually a good thing, they will both walk straight into the test team, so its a great chance for the rest to get in form and push for selection, it will also test the leadership skills of the likes of williamson and latham. It will be interesting to see if guptil can push out brownlie, whoever scores bigger in the warm ups is likely to get the test nod. I think they will play four seamers, at least for the lords test so gillespie vs bracewell will also be of interest. Warm up games like this should be compulsary for touring teams to get up to scratch, too often we've been rolled coming from our off season straight into international fixtures, so no excuses this time.

  • jonbuoy on May 2, 2013, 4:33 GMT

    So NZ don't think they are entree for the Ashes, they need to get real, England will be using them for practice for the Ashes and anyone who says anything different is in la-la land. The REAL games start later in the season and carry on to Australia later.

  • cric_J on May 2, 2013, 3:40 GMT

    Expecting this series to be a good one. I dearly want England to do well but I also want to see that same inspired performance by the Kiwis as in the March series.

  • on May 2, 2013, 2:34 GMT

    NZ is a great team. They have shown it in the recent past and they will, in the future as well. The conditions in England should suit them. Best of luck to NZ.

  • on May 2, 2013, 1:15 GMT

    so for game vs derbyshire are we expecting 1 fulton 2 rutherford 3 and captain williamson 4 brownlie 5 guptil 6 latham/watling 7 watling/bracewell 8 southee 9 martin 10 wagner 11 boult

  • 2.14istherunrate on May 1, 2013, 22:50 GMT

    NZ are an okay side in reality and if the seamers Southee and Boult bowl the lengths and lines they did in NZ England may find themselves in a corner. The most demeanoing thing about this series is that it is only 2 Tests. Ridiculous. I look forward to some very interesting epiisodes. Mc|Cullum as captain easily outshone Cook in that department,though Cook remains supreme as a batsman. English standard defensive captaincy should be replaced by English new dynamic aggressive 'make things happen' captaincy. Seriously Al, being Strauss MK 2 is a bit of a cop out. No sweepers please and try a few more close fielders. It makes me wince seeing 2 slips and a gully in for the new ball.

  • usernames on May 1, 2013, 20:17 GMT

    I don't know why the English writers set out to make contests with teams like NZ, WI, etc. look like they are demeaning when England themselves have been mostly poor.

  • SirViv1973 on May 1, 2013, 20:03 GMT

    It's not idea for NZL that their 2 most revered players are not here for the start of the tour. I guess the idea is that they will get straight off the plane & play in the game against the Lions which is not idea preparation. Even though the likes of Fulton & Rutherford racked up big scores in the series at home you wouldn't put money on them doing the same in early season Eng conditions so I feel if NZL are to post big enough scores to win games here they will need major contributions from the IPL pair Having said all that the bowling looks good Southee,Bracewell & Boult will be a handful for our batsman.

  • landl47 on May 1, 2013, 19:47 GMT

    I thought the tests in NZ were very entertaining in their different ways. NZ has a good squad of seam/swing bowlers and some devastating hitters, so their side is not unlike Australia's. I'm glad to see that the England squad members are having a pretty good start to the season, they're going to need it with the first test only a couple of weeks away.

  • GeoffreysMother on May 1, 2013, 17:55 GMT

    I don't think anyone who thinks seriously about cricket is underestimating New Zealand. They were very impressive at home (as they were away in Sri Lanka and Australia) and I expect them to be a tough a challenge as the Australians. It is a shame that McCullum in particular is not with the squad from the start: that is bucks over leadership. Compare it with Steve Waugh taking the Aussies to Gallipoli. Still I imagine cricket incomes in NZ are too precarious to allow for grand gestures.

  • on May 1, 2013, 17:07 GMT

    NZ are a very good side with Trent Boult and Tim Southee and Bracwell... they got good batsman too...hopefully we will see NZ peform in England

  • on May 1, 2013, 17:07 GMT

    NZ are a very good side with Trent Boult and Tim Southee and Bracwell... they got good batsman too...hopefully we will see NZ peform in England

  • GeoffreysMother on May 1, 2013, 17:55 GMT

    I don't think anyone who thinks seriously about cricket is underestimating New Zealand. They were very impressive at home (as they were away in Sri Lanka and Australia) and I expect them to be a tough a challenge as the Australians. It is a shame that McCullum in particular is not with the squad from the start: that is bucks over leadership. Compare it with Steve Waugh taking the Aussies to Gallipoli. Still I imagine cricket incomes in NZ are too precarious to allow for grand gestures.

  • landl47 on May 1, 2013, 19:47 GMT

    I thought the tests in NZ were very entertaining in their different ways. NZ has a good squad of seam/swing bowlers and some devastating hitters, so their side is not unlike Australia's. I'm glad to see that the England squad members are having a pretty good start to the season, they're going to need it with the first test only a couple of weeks away.

  • SirViv1973 on May 1, 2013, 20:03 GMT

    It's not idea for NZL that their 2 most revered players are not here for the start of the tour. I guess the idea is that they will get straight off the plane & play in the game against the Lions which is not idea preparation. Even though the likes of Fulton & Rutherford racked up big scores in the series at home you wouldn't put money on them doing the same in early season Eng conditions so I feel if NZL are to post big enough scores to win games here they will need major contributions from the IPL pair Having said all that the bowling looks good Southee,Bracewell & Boult will be a handful for our batsman.

  • usernames on May 1, 2013, 20:17 GMT

    I don't know why the English writers set out to make contests with teams like NZ, WI, etc. look like they are demeaning when England themselves have been mostly poor.

  • 2.14istherunrate on May 1, 2013, 22:50 GMT

    NZ are an okay side in reality and if the seamers Southee and Boult bowl the lengths and lines they did in NZ England may find themselves in a corner. The most demeanoing thing about this series is that it is only 2 Tests. Ridiculous. I look forward to some very interesting epiisodes. Mc|Cullum as captain easily outshone Cook in that department,though Cook remains supreme as a batsman. English standard defensive captaincy should be replaced by English new dynamic aggressive 'make things happen' captaincy. Seriously Al, being Strauss MK 2 is a bit of a cop out. No sweepers please and try a few more close fielders. It makes me wince seeing 2 slips and a gully in for the new ball.

  • on May 2, 2013, 1:15 GMT

    so for game vs derbyshire are we expecting 1 fulton 2 rutherford 3 and captain williamson 4 brownlie 5 guptil 6 latham/watling 7 watling/bracewell 8 southee 9 martin 10 wagner 11 boult

  • on May 2, 2013, 2:34 GMT

    NZ is a great team. They have shown it in the recent past and they will, in the future as well. The conditions in England should suit them. Best of luck to NZ.

  • cric_J on May 2, 2013, 3:40 GMT

    Expecting this series to be a good one. I dearly want England to do well but I also want to see that same inspired performance by the Kiwis as in the March series.

  • jonbuoy on May 2, 2013, 4:33 GMT

    So NZ don't think they are entree for the Ashes, they need to get real, England will be using them for practice for the Ashes and anyone who says anything different is in la-la land. The REAL games start later in the season and carry on to Australia later.