'I've got to try and find a way to inspire' - Allan Donald
"This is an opportunity I have been waiting for, and I know I'm coming into a side which has had a few problems in one-day cricket but I feel I can help with the bowlers," Donald said. "The big thing I always focus on is attitude and intensity and that all started at the training ground."
New Zealand have not won a Test since February 2010 when they defeated Bangladesh, but have suffered from bigger setbacks in the one-day format in which they are on a 11-match losing streak. The lack of incisiveness in the bowling, particularly since the retirement of Shane Bond, has been one of their worries. The 44-year-old Donald insisted that his focus would be to get the bowling unit to punch above its collective weight.
"You can't expect miracles and we need to discuss this as a bowling group, I need to find out from them about what their thoughts are and what they're lacking, where we can improve," Donald said. "But I've got to try and find a way to inspire. I grew up in a South African set-up where I knew what I was going to get from the guy at the other end, and I knew what I was going to get from the bowling group as a collective unit.
"I've played against New Zealand a lot. I felt you could pick out the individuals within the bowling unit who were going to make a difference, guys like Dion Nash and Chris Cairns, for instance. But not collectively, and I think that's what we need to bring to the table as a collective unit, the intensity and the attitude. You can work with someone who's got a dodgy action or struggling, or injury prevention. If the fitness and strength is good then the mental aspect will fall into it."
Donald was also keen to bring about a difference in the way the bowlers trained. "You're working with players who know and understand their actions and their roles in the team, so you're not going to come in and over-coach things, but the big thing I always focus on is attitude and intensity, and that starts at the training ground," he said. "I learned a lot from Eddie Barlow and he kicked my butt when I was practising wrong. So not only the skills, but that's the inspiration I think these boys need now."
Donald was confident that he would have a rich line of talent to work with. "I switched the TV on the other day and I saw this kid Adam Milne run in at 150kmh, so there are some bright youngsters coming through the ranks. I like Tim Southee, I watched him the last three days [of the Wellington Test] and the way he operated. I think you need a guy who has got a bit of white-line fever. That aggression is good and that's the kind of attitude that I'm talking about as a collective unit that we need to instill.
"I know it's not in everybody's culture and makeup to be that aggressive but I think that the team needs to understand how it lifts people and the buzz it creates."