Cricket writer at New Zealand's Herald on Sunday

Eleven reasons why New Zealand are looking good

Featuring McCullum, Taylor, Boult, Southee and a support cast of team-mates, coaches and fans

Andrew Alderson

February 20, 2014

Comments: 74 | Text size: A | A

The most heart-warming summer in New Zealand cricket's recent history © Getty Images

The great escape by New Zealand in the second Test against India in Wellington highlighted how much their cricket has improved this summer. Here are 11 reasons why a new era has dawned.

Brendon McCullum's leadership
Even before becoming New Zealand's first triple-century-maker, the skipper had gelled the operation; a scenario scarcely imaginable a year ago when cricket in New Zealand threatened to implode following the Ross Taylor captaincy demotion. McCullum deserves credit for balancing the needs of senior players, in particular Taylor, while convincing younger players they belong at international level. The 32-year-old is generally composed and communicates clearly, something the team has responded to well under pressure, like in the first-Test win at Eden Park.

Then came McCullum's 302, something no New Zealander had achieved in 84 years of Tests. It wasn't so much the figure as the circumstances of its execution. His tenacity left an indelible mark on the country's sporting history. The feat compounded the inspiration offered by the New Zealand team this summer for fans who long ago could have been forgiven for slipping into apathy. You want further proof? How about the queues waiting to get into the ground on the final morning? Rare scenes for New Zealand.

Public support
How often do talkback stations, social media and online feedback hum with such goodwill for the national side? The occasions are rare enough since Sir Richard Hadlee's retirement in 1990 to be listed by month: February-March 1992 (World Cup), July-August 1999 (England Test series win), January-February 2002 (ODI tri-series finals in Australia), February 2007 (Chappell-Hadlee series whitewash). Slim pickings. McCullum's triple-century, the country's finest Test innings on several fronts, was the coup de grace in a summer of goodwill. Coach Mike Hesson summed it up: "It defined the way we want to play our cricket… [it] stopped a nation to a degree. As a New Zealander, not only as coach, it was a pretty special moment."

With the World Cup returning to New Zealand for the first time in 23 years next year, this summer was the perfect entrée to capture hearts and minds.

Defence as good as attack
The recovery in the second Test from a seemingly insurmountable situation at 94 for 5 to post the team's highest score, 680 for 8, represented the finest hour as Test batsmen for McCullum and BJ Watling with their world-record sixth-wicket stand of 352. Their heroics rank with New Zealand's finest partnerships, fulfilling the very definition of "test". McCullum also came to the wicket at 30 for 3 in the first Test before making 224 with the support of Kane Williamson, who has one of the best temperaments and techniques in the world for dealing with crises.

A revolution in professionalism
"It's great seeing guys mature into their roles and their careers but we're not good enough to be complacent. These guys put in a lot of hours of hard graft," said McCullum after the final one-dayer against India, having beaten the visitors 4-0 in the series. It continued into the Tests. The work ethic is pervasive, be it Williamson getting throwdowns until daylight concedes defeat, or Mitchell McClenaghan introducing team-mates to the benefits of the fitness programme CrossFit.

Taylor's crusade
Ross Taylor, remember him? In a tumultuous year post-captaincy, three centuries in consecutive Tests against West Indies saw Taylor emerge with unparalleled self-belief. He has thanked mental conditioning work with Gilbert Enoka and Gary Hermansson as the key means enabling him to concentrate for sustained periods. It prompted McCullum, after the Hamilton Test victory, to say: "If he was to retire now he'd go down as one of our all-time greats - and I said [to the team] we should enjoy watching a guy like that." Taylor went on to hit consecutive match-winning centuries in the last two ODIs against India but missed the final Test due to the birth of his second child, Jonty Luteru.

Mike Hesson's man-management
Hesson works like an unobtrusive DJ, seamlessly spinning the vinyl in the background while his players dance their tune. He prefers to let his captain lead, as most great sides - think Don Bradman, Clive Lloyd and Steve Waugh - have done, and his planning is paying dividends. Hesson describes himself as "no show pony" and a "clinical sort of bloke" who tries to "balance out the highs and lows". There was no better example than in the second Test during the tight moments in the dressing room leading to McCullum's 300. "We all sat on the same seats for a couple days, ate the same food and tried to do as little as we could," Hesson said. "When he got to 300 you saw true emotion come out and we were all delighted."

Emergence of raw talent
Corey Anderson has been a revelation with the fastest ODI century, in 36 balls, in Queenstown on New Year's Day. Mumbai Indians concurred to a point where they invested US$750,000 in his IPL services this season. The other strong movers, allrounder Jimmy Neesham (with the highest score, 137 not out, by a No. 8 batsman on Test debut) and pace bowler Matt Henry (four wickets for 38 on ODI debut), have been secured by Delhi Daredevils and Chennai Super Kings respectively. All three look set to be part of New Zealand's World Cup plans.


Ross Taylor and Shane Bond chat at training, Colombo, November 23, 2012
Ross Taylor and Shane Bond have had an immeasurable impact on New Zealand's batting and bowling respectively © Associated Press
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Team men
Every team has its stars - in the summer of 2013-14 they have been McCullum, Taylor, Williamson, Trent Boult and Tim Southee - but others are required to provide support they can rely on or advice they can trust. In the Test team the input of veteran first-class players like Peter Fulton, Neil Wagner and Watling, or Nathan McCullum and Kyle Mills in the one-dayers, is hard to quantify but useful in building camaraderie.

Measured selection policies
Since his August appointment as selection manager, Bruce Edgar has brought professionalism, objectivity and effective communication to the role. A core group of players has been established, which looks sound for a couple of years. Sure, Edgar's one of New Zealand most respected former players but his method and logic, drawn from his financial consultancy background and qualification as a Level 3 coach, appear to be paying dividends.

Use of Shane Bond
Fifteen months in and Bond can claim progress in the player-to-coach transition. He has nurtured one of the country's best opening partnerships: Southee and Boult. Wagner also had his best Test in Auckland, while Kyle Mills, Mitchell McClenaghan, Hamish Bennett and Matt Henry have fronted in ODIs. Bond claims to be consultative rather than instructive because his charges are "pretty self-sufficient". His key thrust has been aggression, such as employing the short-ball policy against India.

Doug Bracewell and Jesse Ryder
The flip side to the intrepid pair's fall from grace, when news leaked of their transgressions before the first India Test, is that it raised the dressing room's motivation. The threat of getting axed from a team on the rise is an antidote to preventing further indiscretions. Such matters can bond teams tighter, especially when kudos the team deserved from their Eden Park victory was diluted as a result.

Andrew Alderson is cricket writer at New Zealand's Herald on Sunday

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Posted by dogandbone on (February 22, 2014, 19:01 GMT)

@shane-oh......our second innings was no better until the big partnership started...in fact it could have been worse had McCullum been caught on 9.....the cracks are certainly still there but maybe just closing up a bit.

Posted by Texmex on (February 21, 2014, 18:11 GMT)

Don't get carried away after beating India at home. Beat SA or Aus then sure.

Indian supporter

Posted by 30-30-150 on (February 21, 2014, 12:28 GMT)

Let's not forget the fact that New Zealand failed to win a single Test/ODI in Bangladesh just four months ago. Not trying to downplay NZ's current good form, but, like most teams, they are a dangerous side in their home conditions. It's not as if India meekly surrendered in all the games on the tour. Both teams played good cricket, with India not able to cash in on situations when they had a clear upper hand while the Kiwis never counted themselves out of the game. Having said that, NZ have developed a good set of limited-overs players, and this side is starting to look like a serious contender for lifting the World Cup next year, along with Australia and South Africa. As far as Tests are concerned, NZ have a LOT of work to be done.

Posted by shane-oh on (February 21, 2014, 12:23 GMT)

@Michael Kent - a fair point, but I think the best thing about the performance overall was the fightback. I know from many years of watching NZ how many times in the past we would have given up when that far behind in the match, so to watch the grit the lads showed was extremely pleasing.

It's also worth pointing out that the pitch in the second test was a nightmare first up. I truly believe, with our bowling lineup, we would have rolled India for under 100 if we were bowling first.

That said, the collapse in the first test was a massive concern, chasing quick runs or not. But in the context of a win like that, it feels a little more acceptable.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2014, 11:52 GMT)

Lets not get too carried away. In the last 2 test against India NZ had two "failed" innings. To do well in international cricket, an innings of less than or close to 200 is something that happens very occasionally and not twice in two consecutive matches . And NZ has no good spinner at all, at the moment.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2014, 11:08 GMT)

It is good to see New Zealand do well. They have a decent set of players right now with great potential. Southee, Boult and Williamson are very talented cricketers and they are the men to lead the Kiwis in the future. Ross Taylor is a fine batsman and he should make most of the years he has left. McCullum has led the team well. Neesham has had a great start and he should try to make most of the good start. I hope the Black Caps can keep up the good work and win some matches outside of NZ, too.

Posted by JackJak on (February 21, 2014, 9:34 GMT)

After the Richard Hadlee, Chatfield, Martin Crowe, Mark Greatbatch, Andrew Jones era ...This is the first time that New Zealand actually looks like they really have a chance to get it together in all departments..If only the opening slot is filled ..they have easily one of the best technical batsmen right now in Kayne Williamson...I dont see anybody who looks as good with technique..Of course he needs to perform against Mitchell Johnson's pace and bodyline building and succeed too. But Kayne Williamson and a few more really gifted solid players like him...And they will Thrash INdia In INdia ...And hope it happens soon. The Indians are pompous highly arrogant players and not any of their batsmen compare to Kayne Williamson :)

Posted by android_user on (February 21, 2014, 7:56 GMT)

@ru4real T20 rankings don't matter. Your 2 batsmen click and one of your bowler gives you a crucial breakthrough, its done.

Agreed we have had a brilliant home summer but we need to be consistent and not be arrogant about it. And to all those Indian fans, we respect(ed) you and your country but I reckon we are not getting it in return. We won our last odi series away in South Africa, England and a drawn series vs Sri Lanka. We also drew our last test series in Australia and Sri Lanka. I don't seem to find a reason to whinge about it.

@shane-oh and @Kiwicricketnut Well said bro.

Posted by StevieS on (February 21, 2014, 7:53 GMT)

ru4real what? Ireland beat West Indies in a test series? Or a ODI? Or was it a one off hit and giggle 20/20 where luck can determine the outcome. Get real.

Posted by shane-oh on (February 21, 2014, 7:45 GMT)

@ru4real - and an even better question - where does that then leave India???

Posted by   on (February 21, 2014, 4:03 GMT)

NZ's population is a fraction of that of some of Inidla's cities, even! You have to admire them. Hassaan Naeem hits the nail on the head.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2014, 3:24 GMT)

For all those people saying come to our country and blah blah blah, please remember that no team won away from home last year. The only team who looks like they will win a test series away from home this year is Australia.

I however am very proud of the Black Caps with what they have done this summer. Last summer we failed to put away England when we should have won. Regardless of the strength of the opposition we still followed through and put both West Indies and India away this summer. For me that shows progress and shows that we now have the mental strength not to panic and fall short of the mark like we used to.

Posted by   on (February 21, 2014, 3:12 GMT)

NZlanders deserve to celebrate their team's victories against India and WIndies. As a Windian I wish our players could show a fraction of the resilience that NZ players displayed. Well done, your future looks bright.

Posted by android_user on (February 21, 2014, 1:58 GMT)

All these India lost rather than NZ won comments are crap! NZ played excellent cricket to win the T20,ODIs and test series and we excellent squad of players to pick from at the moment. My opinion is we're on par with PAK ahead of ENG,SL,IND and the woeful windies.the only teams ahead of us are the mighty SA and AUS(only tests).

Posted by Prabs_M on (February 21, 2014, 0:56 GMT)

I've a feeling New Zealand could be the dark horse in the upcoming World Cup, just like the Sri-Lankans back in 1996.

Posted by Underbelly83 on (February 20, 2014, 23:26 GMT)

For a nation of only 4.5 million, of whom very few are cricketers, we punch well above our weight in this great game.

Posted by Herath-UK on (February 20, 2014, 23:21 GMT)

Well the most important reason that NZ future look bright you 've not mentioned; it is giving away the rights the Sri Lankans & Pak bravely stood for, at the ICC to get their wallet filled by the big three.

Posted by MiddleStump on (February 20, 2014, 22:10 GMT)

What? Where is the most important reason? Arranging back to back series against the West Indies and India. It is better than any amount of net practice since it offered 3 months of practice in the middle. Sufficient to prepare for the real test against real teams.

Posted by dogandbone on (February 20, 2014, 21:45 GMT)

mmmm...Ireland beat West Indies...now where does that leave NZ ????

Posted by johnathonjosephs on (February 20, 2014, 21:42 GMT)

@CaptainMeanster, I have been seeing your comments on cricinfo for the last few years and your comment this time is perhaps one of the funniest. You are obviously very sour about India losing yet another series in New Zealand. Your comments are always ridiculous and I hope you know that nobody takes them seriously. And btw, New Zealand actually drew a series in Sri Lanka sometime last year (1-1), so there goes for your "struggling in the subcontinent" theory. The real question is when (if at all) will India win a single game outside of the subcontinent? Since 2011 WC win, they haven't won a single game, maybe the curse will stay until the 2015 world cup?

Posted by Murupara_madness on (February 20, 2014, 21:24 GMT)

@captmeanster. To address the myth you seem to enjoy propagating of no team winning away from home (and thus test cricket being a "farce"). England won their last series in India. Sri lanka won their last series in Bangladesh, Australia are currently winning their series in SA, SA haven't lost a series abroad in 3-4 years, NZ drew their last series in Bangladesh, sri lanka and Australia. England drew their last series in NZ....... I think what you mean is that no INDIAN team ever wins abroad.

Posted by StraightBatToAStraightBall on (February 20, 2014, 21:08 GMT)

I'm English, and obviously support England (even in their current hour of need!). I'm not a New Zealand supporter…. but I think they're turning into a terrific team. Whoever made the comment about where they stand in the ICC rankings…. not for long! Check out where their players stand in the individual rankings. I think we may see the team moving up the rankings pretty soon. They're a really good team already, and they look set for the next few years… they're only going to get better. A hard team to beat. If I were the ECB, I'd be seriously considering making an offer to Mike Hesson.

Posted by Kakariki on (February 20, 2014, 20:37 GMT)

@Chetan Asher: what about all the dropped catches by NZ and incorrect umpiring decisions by Steve Davis? Funny how opposition supporters never remember the fortunate events favouring them! What happened was that India lost both of the series

Posted by mikeyp147 on (February 20, 2014, 20:32 GMT)

I've always had a soft spot for New Zealand - both as a country and for its sports teams. All you Indian fans choking on your sour grapes must remember this - Population of New Zealand: 4.5 million. Population of India 1.2 billion.

So either New Zealand are punching miles above their weight to beat India, or India are woeful and there is a big problem if this lot is the best 11 you can put on a field from such a vast population. Or a combination of both.

If I were you I'd look a bit closer to home for the reasons for results like this and let the New Zealanders enjoy their (over)achievements.

Posted by iceaxe on (February 20, 2014, 20:30 GMT)

NZ have performed well at home. They now need to do it abroad to gain further credibility. Even Bangladesh can with at home.

That said, there is some exciting talent in the wings, and I do believe NZ are about to climb the rankings ladder...

Posted by KiwiPom on (February 20, 2014, 20:13 GMT)

I think jimbond is not far from the mark. I would add Brendon McCullum to his list of certainties. I think he's been inspired by the development of Ross & Kane and his captaincy, whilst edge of the seat stuff at times, is of a quality that inspires others to play for him. What's needed is: 1 opening batsman; development from Hamish Rutherford; a bowler who gets it through at 145kph+; 1 or both of Neesham & Anderson to cement their spots. I'm undecided about Ish Sodhi at this stage. My best pick is to let him develop his game one level lower down and pick him again later. This is now a good team but feet on the ground.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2014, 18:34 GMT)

It is amazing how many people have said that NZ lost to Bangladesh in the Tests back in October...well they didn't! How can you confuse the Test matches with the ODIS!? When was the last time Bangladesh won a test for Gods sake?? I'm starting to think that these people are Bangladeshi supporters purposely doing this in an attempt to make their sides recent results look better than they actually are!

Posted by shane-oh on (February 20, 2014, 17:51 GMT)

@Cpt.Meanster - I just about choked I laughed so hard. And the award for most ridiculous comment of the week, amongst thousands of ridiculous sour comments, goes to you for "I don't care what the ICC rankings have to say because I know there are a lot of flaws in it. However, NZ are no. 7 on the test and ODI rankings for a reason." Hilarious.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2014, 17:48 GMT)

i agree with peter gibson.....for such a small and with such a small population talent keeps on coming......the NZ athletes are not like the caribean people who got to USA where they think can get more fame.....................what new zealand requires is consistency and i think by atleast getting to the semi-finals of the t20 world cup the can prove they r goin in the right direction............for me t20 favourites r NZ, PAK, AUS and SRI

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (February 20, 2014, 17:27 GMT)

Fair play to NZ. They played well at HOME to beat India. Still, NZ are an average side who will struggle in the sub continent. This is why I think test cricket is a farce. No team is strong away from home. I will never be satisfied until I see a team winning convincingly all over the world in different conditions. I don't care what the ICC rankings have to say because I know there are a lot of flaws in it. However, NZ are no. 7 on the test and ODI rankings for a reason. They are a team who are just beginning to learn how to win games of cricket consistently. I won't read too much into this series performance until they come to India and beat India convincingly. That doesn't mean I won't congratulate them now though because they deserve this victory. Especially, after McCullum's 'once in a life time' innings.

Posted by android_user on (February 20, 2014, 17:14 GMT)

newzland is very strong but kohli batting is awsome

Posted by   on (February 20, 2014, 17:11 GMT)

@S_M_G. last time NZ played Aus in a test we won. The last ODI series IN SOUTH AFRICA we won... you were saying?

Posted by crangs81 on (February 20, 2014, 17:02 GMT)

I know it was three long years ago but we did win our last test in Australia. Just sayin' :D

Posted by   on (February 20, 2014, 16:52 GMT)

What a lot of crap comments... you should be proud what this team has achieved. More than what any of you sofa critics will ever achieve, for such a small country our sportsmen always get criticised by nobodies who just have sour grape mouths and nothing else. So Proud of your achievements Blackcaps you beauties. One more thing I have never seen a batsman make 300 without giving at least one chance. So all you critics grab a bat or ball and go out there and do better.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2014, 16:30 GMT)

i am seeing New Zealand winning this year t20 world cup in Bangladesh under leadership of figher captain.

Posted by pull_shot on (February 20, 2014, 16:21 GMT)

I have seen repeatedly batsman hailed good as he scores good against India r no where near to good when playing with others perfect examples r nasir jamshed, jonny bairstow (man of d match on debut), cook so just wait and c for performances of kane,taylor,mac cullum,guptill as there were never this much consistent in there carrier , they were allowed to play like that rather than they r playing like that by india

Posted by shane-oh on (February 20, 2014, 14:35 GMT)

@Chetan Asher - good points. We can sum it up by saying that, theoretically, if India had played better than NZ rather than worse, then they would have won.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2014, 14:04 GMT)

A post like this always comes up before a world cup .. last time and the time before that .. Nz always looks great before a world cup, but a short flash of good performances amount to nothing and in the long run, they do not have the sort of mental strength required to be consistently good all through a major tournament like the world cup.

Posted by Caveman. on (February 20, 2014, 13:44 GMT)

Hold your horses! Weak opposition should figure in this list. India's rankings are boosted by their home performances - and have a rookie team with negligibke experience; the less said about Windies, the better. Besides, it wasn't too long ago that Kiwis got trumped by Bangladesh in the tests. Ross Tyler is the only active classy batsman at the moment. Baz is great while on song, but he needs Indians to feast. Ryder remains in his drunken stupor. Nothing much to write about the rest.

And while the pace attack looks good, but post-Vettori, Kiwis still dont have a decent spinner.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2014, 13:25 GMT)

Much as I would like to appreciate 11 reasons for NZ looking good, in the last 2 tests, I have found only 4 - 1) Murali Vijay without whose brilliant sleeping in the slips, Kane Williamson would have gone in the 30's rather than 90+ & India would have won the first test (NZ won by 40). 2) Virat Kohli without whose brilliance at Mid-on, McCullum's 308 would have been 009 & India would have won the second test. 3) MS Dhoni self-contradicting strategies. He has announced to the world that our bowling is weak. What does he do in team composition - reduces 5 bowlers to 4 with a specialist batsman. From the 4, one has to be a batsman who bowls. 4) Media covering Indian Cricket who found nothing wrong with Murali Vijay / Virat Kohli mucking up chances created by Indian bowlers, but instead found bowlers at fault ! Don't get me wrong - NZ did play much better than expected, but without Dhoni, Vijay, Kohli & the media, India could have won the series 2-0 OR drawn 1-1.

Posted by S_M_G on (February 20, 2014, 11:58 GMT)

This Team India will make look any team very good. Wait till NZ plays Aus or SA.

Posted by shane-oh on (February 20, 2014, 11:53 GMT)

@Madan Shivakumar - well, as they say, you're only as good as you last game. Which, against Australia, NZ won. In Australia. Not our fault the "big" teams are afraid to play the "small" teams more often! After the last 6 weeks or so, I guess we can see why!

Posted by android_user on (February 20, 2014, 10:50 GMT)

ha same old stuff! when a team beats one of the worst travelling sides it looks invincible!! India hasn't won a single test abroad in over 2 and a half years and I don't think they will for the rest of this year too! beating such a pathetic side is no great achievement kiwis! take on aus and win let's see:)

Posted by shane-oh on (February 20, 2014, 10:42 GMT)

Agreed, things are very rosy right now, and no amount of trolling negativity can alter that fact.

@jimbond - your knowledge of cricket is very poor. NZ currently have the best bowling lineup in their history. Boult, if anything, is even better than Southee. Also makes no sense to claim that a man who just got a double hundred and a triple hundred in consecutive matches doesn't qualify as a quality batsman. These attempts to downplay the monumental achievements of these players this summer are embarrassing and simply reveal people like yourself as poor sportsmen.

Posted by SixFourOut on (February 20, 2014, 10:35 GMT)

Honestly Australia out our peak 2002-2004 had a very similar one day and Test squad with a few tweaks.

What I see with this Kiwi team is that Ryder and Guptill should open in tests and One Dayers and really cement a top order partnership.

Forget the spinner, you don't have a have decent one. Sodhi throws pies and McCullum is a one day dart specialist, which is a job he does well, but taking wickets is NOT his thing, so people, stop suggesting him.

Play four seamers and use K Williamson as a spin change up. Hit 'em with pace.

Look at how strong this team is:

1. Guptill 2. Ryder 3. Williamson 4. Taylor 5. McCullum 6. Watling 7. Anderson 8. Neesham 9. Wagner 10 Southee 11. Boult

Posted by siddhartha87 on (February 20, 2014, 10:32 GMT)

Boult and Southee combo is definitely 3rd best in the world after MJ-Harris and Steyn-Philander . What i like about them is unlike the other pairs they got age in their side.If they continue work hard like this nothing can stop them from being no 1 new ball pair in world cricket.

As a team they are on right path. They have beaten SA and England away from home in ODI's as well India in home. They lost a series against Bangladesh but i am sure they have definitely learnt valuable lesson in that series.I am pretty if SOouthee-Boult gets Bangladesh in seamer friendly wickets they will allow them to score even 150

Posted by   on (February 20, 2014, 10:28 GMT)

The improvement of New Zealand is fantastic for the game, McCullums captaincy has been great thus far. We need 6-8 teams in the world who can genuinely push each others hard both home and away. They seem to be heading in the right direction and have genuine pace in Milne, batsmen with a cricket brain. If teams like Bangladesh, Pakistan, West Indies, Zimbabwe follow suit then the three nations that thought of leaving the rest behind will be forced to rethink their plans for this game.

Posted by kiwicricketnut on (February 20, 2014, 9:39 GMT)

the return of the NZA xi would be the 12th reason to be optomistic about the future, fringe black caps getting quality tours in foriegn conditions is only going to improve our top team as well, while i wont say its the greatest black caps side of all it was just the greastest innings of all time, but i will say we have never had so much depth with actual international quality players, the openers are the only problem and that is a pretty big problem in tests so we still have some way to go, sohdi needs to bowl alot of overs to get up to speed, he wont push n. mccullum out of the odi team but he definately needs more international exposure, maybe join the odi squad after the world cup once he is humming and we can find at least one quality opener we will challenge the big boys

Posted by CricketMaan on (February 20, 2014, 9:31 GMT)

You missed the 12th Man - Inept opposition!!

Posted by android_user on (February 20, 2014, 8:47 GMT)

would e joy a new zealand vs aus odi series.

Posted by android_user on (February 20, 2014, 8:47 GMT)

new zealand definetly look like top side, especially the way the beat india in odis. just lacking a top death bowler for times they batters dont get as much as they did.

Posted by android_user on (February 20, 2014, 8:41 GMT)

@Cricket_is_unpopular They're still better than Bangladesh. Why don't you confine yourself to your own country.

Posted by JackJak on (February 20, 2014, 8:33 GMT)

New Zealand look surely the most refreshing side in cricket now. Hope they can really get better and start winning against Australia, England and South Africa mainly away...they need two good openers a good spinner if they have one and they will be on their way. Neil Wagner should be asked to bowl a bit more like Mitchell Johnson and Trent Boult too if he has it in him..a bit more bodyline and knock a few heads off...If they had done more of that India wouldnt have crossed 80 :)..so now they have Boult, Southee, Wagner, Milne and Bennett two talented all rounders in Neesham and Corey Anderson...They should dump Peter Fulton and Guptill is surely better and go with a line up like this ...Kayne Williamson(opener and spin) 2.Rutherford, Guptil or Ryder (other opener if good enough) 3.Ross Taylor(no loose strokes) 4. Brendon McCullum, 5. Guptil 6. Watling 7. James Neesham 8. Corey Anderson 9. Southee 10. Wagner 11.Boult/or Bennett ( they have to bowl like mitchell johnson's Bodyline

Posted by pietime on (February 20, 2014, 8:24 GMT)

All this was a article on how the NZ team have improved and you plonkers start to go on about having to play Aus and SA to prove themselves. We have had plenty of bad bunch of years. So when we win a few or nearly all of the games at home you people start to put up your defence against us suggesting they need to go over to here or there and play against them or them. They have got a long way to go and maybe they will get beaten big time when they take on country's with huge populations and masses of money but something I will guarantee you is that the NZ team won't lie down like you all expect us to. And we deserve this article. I'm proud of my team they won 11, lost 2 and drew 3 games. That would be as good as any home results from any country. And yes Aus had a great home Ashes. 1 loss!

Posted by   on (February 20, 2014, 8:08 GMT)

@jimbond. Your comment couldn't be further from the truth. Brendon's perhaps one of the best captains we've ever had & he was the difference in this Indian series. The teams performed well without luck in the past 18 months, yet people still bag us & call us mediocre. I hate it, the blackcaps frustrate me but I'm always behind them & Brendon! We did get some luck but we've had more than our fair share of bad luck. This team's on the rise after a great summer. We've won a few big ODi series overseas, if we can nab a few test wins overseas we'll be a GREAT team. And it doesn't matter if it was a weak WI team or a rebuilding India, they're still world class teams, we were competitive in England as well. It's a special time for cricket in NZ, stop bagging them & get behind them, cricket's a hard enough game as it is. This team will do special things. I wish Brendon & the guys all the best, I'll be right behind the blackcaps as long as I live, not like the haters who shouldn't follow cric

Posted by Kingzzzz on (February 20, 2014, 8:01 GMT)

Carried away as usual. Once NZ tours again starting with World T20 and then the West Indies, results will be dismal again. Terrible in subcontinent conditions and whenever they do well at home like they have done against West Indies and India, people describe them as world beaters, force, emerging team etc lol

Posted by   on (February 20, 2014, 7:42 GMT)

I am happy for New Zealand! Good for you! I hope you beat every other nation except Pakistan :). The thing that amazes me about NZ is the number of sportsmen/sportswomen per capita. Good. I like sports and I like NZ. And your politics/politicians are not too bad either.

Posted by here2rock on (February 20, 2014, 7:19 GMT)

Add one more to the list, poor opposition, How will they perform against better opposition? A better team would have finished NZ in both tests.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2014, 7:06 GMT)

vettori has been around for ever I think its time he retired maybe has one more world cup under his belt. we still don't have openers that can stay in more than 5 overs. I think they really need to work on this keep Rutherford at least another few games hes still young. Mark the aussies have no chance mate lol.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2014, 7:03 GMT)

One more reason they are looking good " India is playing more of IPL Matches and playing at HOME then away "

Posted by shashankqvivek on (February 20, 2014, 6:58 GMT)

For me New Zealand is a very good side. Some people will try to devalue NZ's performance by saying it was against India, but they played exceptional cricket. Surely world's best fielding side with very good Batting & Bowling. As an Indian i thought we lost 2 ODI's due to their exceptional fielding. Good Luck for the future.

Posted by Mutunga on (February 20, 2014, 6:54 GMT)

Cautiously optimistic is how I would put my feelings. I was at the Basin Reserve on Tuesday for the magic moment, and what they've achieved this summer is great.

I agree those are 11 reasons for optimism, but I'm not going to get too excited because (1) I've seen too many false dawns in the past, (2) there's the challenge of winning consistently overseas against the top teams, and (3) we are still scouring the country for a pair of opening batsmen who can last long enough at least to take the shine off the new ball.

You didn't mention Adam Milne. I hope his body will stay together so that he can be a big part of the future too.

Posted by jimbond on (February 20, 2014, 6:42 GMT)

Lets not get overboard with praise. NZ does have a strong ODI team- any team which struggles to find a place for someone like Neesham has to be very strong. At test level, NZ continues to be a mediocre team (It came out about even- with one of the weakest Indian teams in the past couple of decades). In tests, NZ strengths are- two very good batsmen in Ross and Kane, one very good bowler in Southee and reasonably good support from Wagner and Boult; and Watling is turning out well. The other six slots are still unstable. With Ryder out of contention, the opening combination is weak. Corey Anderson still has some distance to go- if he has to be in contention for a place either as a batsman or as a bowler. Is Sodhi is very much of work-in-progress and is far from being a finished product. Brendan McCullum- despite his scores against India- is not good enough as a test player and does not deserve a place in any test team as a specialist batsman. His captaincy is also not that great.

Posted by Kakariki on (February 20, 2014, 6:40 GMT)

@mark_aus: Got to love our Aussie brothers! Need I remind you NZ beat SA after a thrashing in the tests, in SA? Just done WI and India, maybe AUS is next?

Posted by AltafPatel on (February 20, 2014, 6:27 GMT)

It will too early to make judgement despite great comeback in last test and series win. They should need to deliberate on narrow win by 34 runs in first test despite of heavy lead of 300. In second test as well, when they were hanging on 94/4, there was easy catch drop of McCullam by Kohli on 9. Were they not have luck, might have series result 0-2 loss. Against WI as well in first test, despite lead of 400, they could hardly draw the match to survive. This team has very good potential but still it seems they still are lacking experience factor in the team which can result in sudden fallback as recently happened on many occasions. They need to stabilize the team and balance between fresh and experienced.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2014, 5:53 GMT)

Imran; Really? This (beating a sub-standard Indian team in their own backyard) is what it takes to anoint them as the best ever Blackcaps? And it took an innings of a lifetime by a Blackcap to save a test match! I hope not! That's a sorry state of affairs!

Posted by 9ST9 on (February 20, 2014, 5:27 GMT)

It's heartening to see NZ comeback.But it's all been at home and against West Indies, one of the poorest performing teams in the top 8 and India, who are also one of the poorest performers away from home. NZ have to prove themselves against SA and Aus, as well as in the subcontinent, where they were really not impressive recently against Bangladesh.

Posted by Longmemory on (February 20, 2014, 5:21 GMT)

Funny how the author goes through eleven reasons without mentioning the most obvious: the quality of the opposition. Until these Black Caps are tested by a genuinely good cricket team its too early to pronounce a verdict on them. That this Indian bowling "attack" twice got them out for 200 or less should make them wary of any quick and easy predictions.

Posted by android_user on (February 20, 2014, 5:19 GMT)

@mark_aus How about you come to play first. No series in past 4 years. We performed well in odi's of south africa but you're right, we must improve in tests.

Posted by heathrf1974 on (February 20, 2014, 5:10 GMT)

@Imran Jazib The best NZ team is of the mid-eighties.

Posted by android_user on (February 20, 2014, 5:09 GMT)

I agree. Aussie and SA will be harder away. I think if we played them next month at home we'd win. Away Johnson and Steyn would be testing. Subcontinent we suffer for spinners. But we have a new steely resolve.

Posted by mark_aus on (February 20, 2014, 4:34 GMT)

Dont get excited . Lets see how they perform against SA , AUSSIES . Also dont see this team performing on sub continent pitch. Wait and watch . Poor indian bowling attack. Lets check against good teams

Posted by   on (February 20, 2014, 4:25 GMT)

Safe to say these guys are the best blackcaps ever.

Posted by Sir_Francis on (February 20, 2014, 3:27 GMT)

Icing on the cake would be the return of a fit Vettori

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