Of all the people in New Zealand unhappy to see Tim Southee dropped from the national squad, Grant Bradburn, his coach at Northern Districts, is perhaps the most disappointed. Southee was cut from the ongoing second Test against South Africa after a poor performance in Dunedin and was sent back to play first-class cricket to rediscover confidence and work on his action.
"He [Southee] is disappointed that he has been dropped and we're gutted for him too," Bradburn told ESPNcricinfo. "We push them out of our environment and we take it personally when players come back. Our mission is to get them through our team, equip them with all the skills to go play international cricket and we don't want to see them back."
Southee admitted he was rushing through his bowling action and told New Zealand radio station Livesport that it had caused the ball to go along the wicket, and not into it, making it easier for batsmen to play him. To rectify that Southee will concentrate on getting his front arm higher up for longer in the Plunket Shield. Bradburn said the best way to get Southee bowling like he used to was to remind him of how he was able to succeed in the past. Southee took 7 for 37 in a match against Wellington in November 2011 and that may be what Bradburn will ask him to remember.
"We'll be taking Tim back to the times where he has bowled well for us and just opening his eyes to remembering those key things that he does," Bradburn said. "There are three or four key things that all key players do when they are playing well. In our environment, we're really big on analysing more so when they are playing well than when they are not playing well. Too many top-class sportsmen over analyse things when they are not going good, instead of understanding why they perform well and what makes them tick at that level. Those are things we like to highlight for them."
Southee could also get some tough love from his Northern Districts team-mates and the management, something Bradburn believes may do the trick. "Tim will be knocked down into shape," Bradburn said. "He will probably get the worst job in the team. He'll be on rubbish duty, which is housekeeping, or he'll be on the pooch, which is carrying the computer bag around, so he'll get the worst job. When he comes back into our environment, he just gets treated like everyone else. He doesn't get any special treatment. The guys will bring him down to earth and put him in his place."
Northern Districts are due to play Auckland in a Plunket Shield game from March 18.