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McMillan questions NZ's World Cup preparations

ESPNcricinfo staff

December 3, 2010

Comments: 28 | Text size: A | A

Kane Williamson edges one and Wriddhiman Saha completes the catch, India v New Zealand, 1st ODI, Guwahati, November 28, 2010
Craig McMillan: "Kane Williamson has struggled at No. 3" © AFP
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Craig McMillan, the former New Zealand batsman, has said that New Zealand's preparations for the World Cup on the subcontinent are in disarray.

"There are a lot of question marks over how the side is travelling, the direction it is heading in, and the performances of the players," McMillan told the Dominion Post. "I don't believe the team is stable and I don't believe the selectors know what their best side is yet. I don't think they've got the batting order correct with the best players in their best positions."

New Zealand have had a poor run of form in ODIs in the recent past. They came into the India tour following a 4-0 loss in Bangladesh. They managed to draw the first two Tests against India and lost the third one in Nagpur. However, they have lost the first two games of the ongoing five-match ODI series in India, and have now lost eight straight completed ODIs since beating India by 200 runs in Dambulla in August.

New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori had said the tours of Bangladesh and India would be ideal preparation for the World Cup. McMillan, however, reckoned the tours had "turned out to be anything but, in terms of their performances."

"Confidence has to be low," he said. "It was low after they came back from Bangladesh. Individuals would have taken some heart out of the first two Tests, but they've got to start winning games to get that confidence back. They're running out of time."

The New Zealand batsmen have struggled to get off to a good start in both the ODIs in India so far, losing their first wicket within the first seven overs. Kane Williamson has struggled at No. 3, failing to get past 30 on both occasions, and McMillan said that Ross Taylor should be moved up the order.

"It's important that the top three create a strike-rate and Williamson, to me, is a player who needs some time at the crease to get going. No. 3 is not the right position for him and that showed in the first game where the second batting Powerplay was 0-11 off five.

"In subcontinent conditions you're largely chasing big totals so you need a good start. Taylor is not afraid to hit the ball in the air and the field will be up which allows him to play his natural game."

Another area of concern for New Zealand, according to McMillan, was the No. 6 slot. Grant Elliot and Vettori were tried in that position in the first two ODIs but McMillan said New Zealand needed to look at other options. "Six is really the spot that needs to be sorted out rather quickly; [Jacob] Oram if he's fit, [James] Franklin is in the mix, but I don't think No. 6 suits Elliott's batting style."

New Zealand's bowlers failed to trouble India's batsmen when they defended 258 in Jaipur, with the hosts reaching the target in 43 overs. McMillan, however, believed the key to New Zealand's success in the World Cup would lie with their batsmen. "Batting is what is going to win us games. It's important that New Zealand have a confident, aggressive batting lineup who are confident in their ability and just go out and play their natural game."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (December 4, 2010, 14:16 GMT)

NZ is making unwanted changes in the batting order by sending Williamson at No 3. Taylor is the right player to come at No 3. They have quality all rounders like Franklin,Styris,Elliot,Oram,Williamson,N McCullum and Vettori himself. While a large country like India struggles to find a genuine all rounder,NZ a small island,with it's all rounder resources should use them properly.

Posted by   on (December 4, 2010, 13:20 GMT)

@ James, the english spinner is Ian Blackwell; Bracewell is a seamer (and certainly not english, given his relation to John..) Not suggesting we pick Milne now, just that he is a good prospect. Aside from Wagner, and maybe Bennett, not many of those around in the bowling department..

Posted by timelord24 on (December 4, 2010, 11:05 GMT)

i think NZ should stop playing cricket and concentrate only on rugby

Posted by   on (December 4, 2010, 11:03 GMT)

@ Richard Beaton Firstly Doug Bracewell is a spinner and he's English, therefore not available for selection. Milne currently is too inaccurate and far too inexperienced, for Indian batsman who are used to facing Milne's ilk, he'd be cannon fodder.

Posted by   on (December 4, 2010, 11:01 GMT)

@mahesh: Dravid has been one of the greatest assest to indian team in terms of performances...there should be no one to question about his contribution to ODI team!

Posted by contractordarshan on (December 4, 2010, 10:33 GMT)

New Zealand should bring back Lou Vincent.

Posted by kiwi_boyz on (December 4, 2010, 10:06 GMT)

What the hell is Hopkins doing in the team ??? when the world cup is just round the corner y r v time n again using hopkins whose failed time n again at the international level? average of just around 15 in more than 25 ODIs .... is this wat we want? Y not watling or arent there any young keepers in the domestic scene? give the gloves to b mccullum....it gives space to add another batsman or bowler... elliott or franklin can fit in....

Posted by IndiaGoats on (December 4, 2010, 5:43 GMT)

@Mahesh Thiagarajan: Look at 1999 and 2003 World cups. Rahul Dravid was the highest scorer for India in 1999 (plus highest average). In 2003, he still had the highest average and was one of the better finishers.

Posted by   on (December 4, 2010, 5:09 GMT)

Ah! McMillan... we just need you back in the team!!!

Posted by   on (December 4, 2010, 1:12 GMT)

@ Soohwan, I think Wagner becomes eligible at the end of the current season. Mills just had an off day but has been our most consistent ODI seamer for some time. Domestically CD has some very promising young seamers like Doug Bracewell and particularly Adam Milne hitting 140's at the age of 19, watch out for them in the HRV cup. XI's by nzcricket174 and 7477 are OK; I would have Franklin in while Oram unfit and How in while Ryder unfit. Hoping How gets over his nerves and shows his quality. McCullum / How / Guptil / Taylor / Williamson / Styris / Franklin / Vettori / McCullum / Mills / Southee or McKay

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