New Zealand in Zimbabwe 2011-12 October 13, 2011

'New era' is keeping Oram motivated

ESPNcricinfo staff

Jacob Oram, the New Zealand allrounder, says the fresh feel to the New Zealand setup after they made sweeping changes to their coaching staff last December is one of the things motivating him to continue playing international cricket. Oram underwent knee surgery in August 2010 and, after making a comeback this January, had suggested he might retire after the 2011 World Cup. However, he now says he is looking to carry on till next year's World Twenty20.

"This new era is one of the reasons I wanted to keep playing," Oram told New Zealand Herald. "I talked a lot this time last year about how if I came back from knee surgery, the World Cup might be my last tournament. I had a good World Cup, my body felt good and there was no reason to stop.

"But another reason is that I see a lot of excitement in the current crop of players and also the changing of support staff. That's no disrespect to the previous support staff. Everything is so new I think it's injected this enthusiasm into the squad that hopefully I can feed off and make me feel a few years younger.''

After their loss 0-4 loss in an ODI series in Bangladesh last year, New Zealand conducted a review into their cricket. In December, John Wright replaced Mark Greatbach as coach and a host of changes in the support staff followed.

Oram has retired from Tests but is a part of the squad for the limited-over leg of New Zealand's tour of Zimbabwe, their first assignment since the World Cup. But he admitted it had been hard getting back to training for this season. Following New Zealand's run to the semi-final of the World Cup, during which Oram took 12 wickets and was Man of the Match in the quarter-final, he played in the IPL for Rajasthan Royals and then took June off.

"When I started training again in July, I remember the first couple of sessions I had in the gym and I had absolutely zero motivation," Oram said. "It was very hard for me to get back into it because for so long my goal and what I thought would be my last goal for cricket was the World Cup.

"Deciding to keep going was more a mental thing than a physical thing but I have reset my targets and my new goal is next year's World Twenty20, which is only 11 months away. That's what I am working towards and where I want to peak again, and maybe that's the line in the sand for my career. Those motivation levels are right up there again and the body is feeling good and I can't wait to get going again.''

New Zealand will be favourites for the Twenty20 international and ODI series in Zimbabwe, which starts with the first T20I in Harare on October 15. However, Oram said they would not be taking anything for granted.

"I think the key to this tour is not getting complacent, not taking Zimbabwe lightly because if we are honest with ourselves, even though we had a very good World Cup, we are not the most consistent side. We really have to start treating every match we play like it's a World Cup knockout game just so we can put performances on the board that warrant our talent level."