New Zealand v West Indies, 1st Test, Dunedin December 9, 2008

Oram geared up for 'important series'

Cricinfo staff

Jacob Oram is optimistic about the team's new support staff © AFP

Jacob Oram, the New Zealand allrounder, is confident about the team's new management as he returns to the side after injury. Oram, who missed the Australia tour, joins a squad that is now coached by Andy Moles and has Craig Ross as manager, after he replaced Lindsay Crocker.

Oram, now clear of his back injury, joined the squad late after playing for Central Districts against Otago at Napier's McLean Park as part of his rehabilitation. Oram encountered "six new management staff I hadn't met at all" when he arrived, but was raring to get back for New Zealand.

"It was exciting flying down here, and the fact I'm two days later than the rest of the squad joining just had a little bit more buzz," he told the Otago Daily Times. "I don't think they'd be here if, a. they weren't good; and b. they weren't passionate about cricket and the roles they are in."

Oram said he was not sure about the impact Moles would have on the team. "He's got a good record with ND [Northern Districts] and from what I've heard from guys that have played under him, they say he's very organised, a great communicator and a top man manager."

New Zealand's 2-0 loss to Australia was followed by heavy criticism, especially from former captain Martin Crowe. It also resulted in a rather sour end for John Bracewell's tenure as coach, one which did not result in much success for New Zealand at Test level - they start the series against West Indies at No. 8 in the ICC Test rankings.

"I'm not part of the criticism but that doesn't mean it didn't hurt me watching the games and feeling for the guys," he said. "We didn't play to our potential and we have to make sure we're somewhere near our best here and competitive.

"This is an important series for us. We didn't play well in Bangladesh even though we came out on the winning side and obviously Australia was disappointing."

Brendon McCullum, the vice-captain, said the players were hurt, more by the results than the criticism. "You get some sprays in the media but that's nothing to what you're feeling within yourself," he said. "The players are pretty hurt, we know what we did over there wasn't good enough. We've got high expectations on ourselves to perform and we're our harshest critics.

"There's huge emphasis on us performing well during this series. The result is huge for us - we desperately want to win at home and start the climb back up Test rankings.

"When it comes to the one-dayers we'll be a confident unit, we always have been but when it comes to the Test side .... where we're at the moment just isn't good enough."