New Zealand news June 15, 2012

Southee works on batting in bid to cement Test spot

ESPNcricinfo staff

New Zealand fast bowler Tim Southee, who failed to make the Test squad for the upcoming Caribbean tour, has said that he has been using the off-season to work on his batting, in a bid to cement his place in the Test side in the future.

Southee, 23, played in South Africa's last Test series, in March against South Africa, but was dropped after conceding 140 runs for no wicket in the first Test. He said that being dropped from the side was an eye opener. "It's not a nice feeling being left out. It's been a kick up the backside for me," Southee told Fairfax News.

He said that he hoped to contribute as an allrounder in future and that he worked with New Zealand batting mentor Bob Carter to improve his batting. "I have to go out and score some runs. It's something that I've wanted to work on and now having a few months off, it would have been a waste not to do some work on it.

"For me, if we can get our bowlers scoring runs, then that's got to be a good thing for New Zealand cricket and I want to be a part of that; to contribute with the bat as well as with the ball and not make so many silly decisions when I bat."

Southee, who has scored 485 runs from 17 Tests at an average of 20.20, said that he hoped New Zealand's lower order could emulate that of England and score runs regularly. "Hopefully we're making progress," he said. "It makes it tough as a bowler, when you know the opposition's tail isn't just going to fold."

New Zealand's seamers will head to Brisbane on Saturday for a stint with head coach John Wright before joining the rest of the side heading to the West Indies via Florida at the end of the month.

Southee said that he had worked on his action as well, in the lead up to the limited-overs leg of the Caribbean tour. "I just needed to change a couple of things in my action," he said. "It wasn't major, I was just rushing through the crease. I'm more of a rhythm bowler but I was trying to muscle it down, so I was losing the bounce I get and the swing."

New Zealand will play two Twenty20 internationals, five ODIs and two Test matches during the five week tour.

Edited by Carlyle Laurie