India in New Zealand 2008-09 February 22, 2009

Nash sends out warning signal to underperformers

Cricinfo staff

Jacob Oram & co may be be feeling the heat with Dion Nash's latest salvo © Getty Images

Places in the New Zealand squad will no longer be safe with national selector Dion Nash warning underperforming players that, regardless of their status, they may get the axe if they do not deliver.

"When you have a small group of proven players, what happens is that you carry them when they are in and out of form," Nash told the Sunday News. "You want to be in a position where there's constant competition for places so the guys know they must maintain good form or they won't play.

"People need a little bit of slack but what you can't have is a continuous run of bad form. Guys who are knocking on the door underneath deserve their chance."

He admitted that in the past high-profile players had been able to avoid the axe, but believed there was significant pressure from the new crop in the fight for places.

"What we would like to do is build a lot more depth," he said. "Once that's in place we can start picking guys when they are in form. That's the key for New Zealand.

"Part of that building depth is about creating competition for spots. I think the groundsmen around the country have really helped the process for us. We've got better wickets now, particularly for batting, and with that you can get your confidence up at domestic level."

Nash felt that players coming into the New Zealand side after success at the domestic level were closer to international standards than previous players had been. "That instills confidence in the new guys and provides really healthy competition," he said.

With the one-day series win over West Indies and a closely-fought Chappell-Hadlee Series in Australia, Nash said the summer's success hinged on the upcoming home series against India.

"If we can really go toe-to-toe with these guys [India], we can finish the summer in great stead," he said. "I certainly think we can do that and I know the boys are all up for it. The series will hold a completely new set of challenges from the two series we've already had. It's an exciting series and also one I think we must front up and perform in."