West Indies v New Zealand, 5th ODI, Basseterre, St Kitts July 15, 2012

Nicol wants to bat longer

ESPNcricinfo staff

Rob Nicol, the New Zealand opener, has said it is about time he ensures he plays a long innings at the top of the order, not merely get starts. Since making a century on ODI debut in October last year, Nicol, 29, has scored another ton and two fifties but in his last eight innings, has failed to convert starts into something substantial. His scores in this ODI series, in which New Zealand have been defeated and are trailing 1-3, read 14, 15, 59 and 35.

"The reality of it is, pretty much during the whole series, I've got myself into positions but haven't been able to push on for the side,'' Nicol said on the eve of the fifth ODI in St Kitts. ''I'm steadily finding my feet (at international level), but I'm a realist and I know time is of the essence.

''I need to start producing scores of 100+ for the side and batting in partnerships, like JW (coach John Wright) says. I'm really hoping that I can forge something with someone tomorrow.''

New Zealand were outplayed in the first four matches of their tour of the USA and the Caribbean, beaten comprehensively in the two T20s in Florida followed by the first two ODIs. However, since then, there has been a significant improvement. They won the third ODI before putting up a fight in a losing cause in the fourth.

'You've got critiquing from every point of view, even within your own side, so if you're not positive yourself then you're never going to get any enjoyment out of the game,'' Nicol said. ''We put a concerted effort up against them again (in the fourth match) and I think, if a couple of things had gone our way, we could have got over the line and we'd be fighting for the series.

''But you can always massively dissect a game, but in reality in the heat of the moment you've got to go with your gut. We're slowly getting there, hopefully tomorrow we can get over the line.''