New Zealand news December 16, 2011

New Zealand need to prioritise Tests - Crowe

ESPNcricinfo staff

Martin Crowe, the former New Zealand captain, has said New Zealand Cricket needs to prioritise Tests by changing the schedule of first-class matches in the country. New Zealand play their next Test in late January and the next fixture in the Plunket Shield, the country's first-class competition, is not until February 17. In the interim there is a spate of limited-overs matches, geared to draw crowds during the holiday season.

"If you want to play good Test cricket, like we did [in Hobart], then schedule everything around first-class cricket," Crowe told the New Zealand Herald. "You can still fit in the commercial competitions that bring in the money, but we've got a problem when our next first-class match in this country is the Test in late January.

"Go figure, it just doesn't stack up for me."

New Zealand beat Australia by seven runs in Hobart to level the Test series 1-1 earlier this month. It was their first Test win against Australia since 1993, and their first in Australia since 1985. Crowe said New Zealand had the "bones" to be a good Test-playing unit but that much more needed to be done on the domestic front. "There's the bones there to be very good, but it depends what our priorities are because I don't sense we prioritise Test cricket; certainly our domestic schedule doesn't suggest that.

"That's where Australia have dropped the ball in recent years, with their emphasis on Twenty20, just like we have."