Vaughan calls for batsmen to lift game
New Zealand's top order must fire if the team is to be competitive at Test level, according to Justin Vaughan, New Zealand Cricket's chief executive. However, Vaughan said it was too early to expect results from their new batting coach Mark O'Neill, who was appointed in July.
"The players really like Mark's input, but it is too soon to expect results," Vaughan told the Dominion Post. "But the top order does have to lift. This side has a four-year target of being in the top two Test nations in the world so they need to score some runs."
New Zealand had a disastrous first Test against South Africa, making 118 and 172 in their two innings as the leading batsmen failed to have an impact. The second Test begins on Friday and Vaughan is confident the top order will lift.
"I'm impatient. I want to see results, but we do have to be realistic," he said. "This has been a major reality check but you would expect improvement now for the second Test."
"We know the top-order batting has been an issue and that, combined with a lack of cricket, left us cruelly exposed. We need to improve in that area. There is no way we are going to compete at that level if we can't score runs in the top order."
However, Vaughan said moving John Wright into a specialist role to work with the top order was not necessarily the answer. "John's got a role to play," Vaughan said, "but Mark is the head batting coach and we didn't want to usurp him by getting John involved."