'We played dumb cricket' - Oram
Jacob Oram, the New Zealand allrounder, has termed his side's performance in the fifth ODI against Pakistan in Hamilton as "dumb cricket", and said captain Daniel Vettori gave the team an appropriately harsh talk after the match.
Vettori missed the match with a hamstring injury but called a team meeting under the Seddon Park grandstand straight after the match. "Basically Dan kicked the management and support staff out, or maybe they just chose not to come and look us in the eye," Oram said. "For an hour-and-a-half it was just the players in the dressing room and we didn't get back to the hotel till 12.30am."
New Zealand's loss in Hamilton was their 14th in their last 15 completed ODIs, and they have just one more match to play, against Pakistan in Auckland on Saturday, before the World Cup. Ross Taylor had said, after the fifth ODI, that the team was not far away from a win but individuals had to take more responsibility, and Oram said similar themes were discussed in the post-match meeting.
"We're just trying to get to the bottom of what is going on. We're not far away but it's happened too often for it to be just a coincidence. As we said, talent isn't the issue. We all know how good the individuals in this team are. We're not gelling and we're not taking responsibility for winning the match for New Zealand."
Coach John Wright and his assistants Allan Donald and Trent Woodhill were absent from the meeting. Wright took over the coach's job from Mark Greatbatch in December last year, and Donald, the former South Africa fast bowler, joined the team as bowling coach just before the start of the ODI series against Pakistan.
Vettori announced after the Test series he would step down from captaincy after the World Cup, but Oram said he was still very much in charge of the current team. "Dan ran the show. He's captain and he's hurting more than anyone else because this team is his baby. Everyone had their say and there were a lot of home truths spoken.
"There were conversations and it led to debates and arguments but we needed to get a lot of things out in the open. There was some serious honesty. But it will mean nothing if we don't win tomorrow [Saturday] or do well at the World Cup. It will just be another chat. We've got to make sure this big chat means something."
Oram also expressed his disappointment with the apparent lack of composure his team showed in failing to reach Pakistan's 268 in Hamilton - a gettable total on a flat track. New Zealand had two needless run-outs of Jesse Ryder and Scott Styris, and were eventually bowled out for just 227.
Prior to the on-going six-match series, Oram had not played international cricket since August last year, when he had to return home from New Zealand's tri-series in Sri Lanka because of the recurrence of a tendon injury in his knee. He had later said he would consider retirement if he wasn't named in the World Cup squad. He was included for the World Cup and has played in four of the five games in the current series, impressing with his end-over bowling in the fifth match.