One-off performances overshadowed batting problems - Hesson

Mark Chapman was bowled for a duck by Moeen Ali Getty Images

New Zealand have plenty of time to ponder where it went wrong against England, but when they next take the field in coloured clothes the clock will be ticking to cement their World Cup plans.

It will be at least seven months before New Zealand play another ODI - scheduled to be against Pakistan in the UAE, or perhaps Malaysia, around October or November - and though their 2017-18 home season has finished with a 10-3 winning record, there are issues for captain Kane Williamson and coach Mike Hesson to consider.

New Zealand played well earlier in the season, but West Indies were poor and Pakistan below-par over those eight matches. Hesson termed the England series "a pinnacle event" and New Zealand, not for the first time, stumbled with the prize on the line.

A year ago they folded against South Africa at Eden Park, slumping to a six-wicket defeat and a 3-2 series loss, and they also lost a decider in India last October although on that occasion made a good attempt at chasing 338. Naturally, neither Hesson or Williamson believed there was a problem when the pressure was on but certainly in the last two home seasons they have ended with a whimper.

After the series against Pakistan later this year, New Zealand's 2018-19 home summer will consist of 11 ODIs against Sri Lanka (three), India (five) and Bangladesh (three) before a yet-to-be-determined final lead-in to the World Cup which begins at the end of May 2019.

The batting, despite wonderful centuries from Williamson and Ross Taylor in this series, is the key concern after another collapse meant they could only reach 223 in Christchurch. It was very similar to the problems in Mount Maunganui. Chris Woakes' excellence with the new ball kept the top-order under a leash throughout and the one time they did have a platform, 80 for 1 in Wellington, they crumbled to spin. However, Tom Latham's improved output in the middle order was a tick, while Mitchell Santner's career-best batting form a significant boost.

"We went in with a line-up that was batting heavy and it would be fair to say we never got ourselves in a position to utilise that," Hesson said. "Sometimes the top order didn't set it up, sometimes the middle weren't able to capitalise. It wasn't one part, but as a combination we weren't able to set the platform. Throughout the series, there were some very good one-off performances but it probably over-shadowed a batting line-up that hasn't quite fired."

A lot of the onus in the last two years has been trying to replicate Brendon McCullum's impact at the top of the order. Colin Munro is the latest to be tried, but the results have been mixed so far and he failed in four out of five innings against England. He is heading for a defining point in his career having shelved first-class cricket to focus on the white-ball. This New Zealand set-up like to show faith in players, but Munro is by no-means a certainly to be included in the next ODI squad.

"It's pretty fair [to say] that our top-order hasn't set the platform, think that's pretty clear," Hesson said. "Colin is a very destructive player and finding the tempo in one-day cricket is certainly still a work-on for him, but we still see him as a very good prospect."

New Zealand used 18 players in ODIs during their season and Hesson said competition for World Cup places would remain right up to the event. There is at least one batting spot up for grabs, the bits-and-pieces role of Colin de Grandhomme will need to be assessed and it may also be a concern that Tim Southee took 10 wickets at 49.40 this season, including just two against England.

"There's plenty of thinking to be done," Hesson said. "We have an A-series between now and then which will allow us to look at other players, but I think the players based on previous performances earned the right to play this series. Collectively we weren't where we needed to be so we'll certainly have to look at the balance of things."