Form reduces pressure and Twose is thriving

Revelling in the best batting form of his life, CLEAR New Zealand Black Caps middle-order supremo Roger Twose arrived home today from his African triumph enjoying the lack of pressure that consistent form brings.

Now ranked No 2 in the world among One-Day International batsmen, Twose said his elevation, on the back of an outstanding year of ODI batting, was "immensely satisfying."

"Any time you get decent feedback like that in your profession is nice."

He finished the calendar year of ODI commitments having scored 1068 runs at 56.21, the best yet by a New Zealand batsman.

"I felt very comfortable batting over there and was very confident.

"When you have confidence and you know you are performing then it is easier.

"And when it is easier you don't feel under pressure."

There was always the pressure on any player to score.

"But with less pressure that confidence brings, it is not do-or-die every time you go out to bat," he said.

Twose felt he managed his rich vein of form.

"It was smarter work, not harder work," he said.

The confidence meant he didn't feel the constant need to practice, was able to get out and play some golf and that just added to the relaxed feeling he had.

"And they've got some great golf courses," he said.

Twose stands firmly behind his comments that Super Max cricket, the hit-and-miss cricket that is derided by many, has helped his development.

But not Twose.

"It came out of Cricket Max. I was a nurdler of the ball who could play some reverse sweeps but I found I had to be able to hit straight into the Max zone to play that game.

"Now I feel very comfortable putting the ball back over the bowlers' heads," he said.

The corporate finance manager for the National Bank returned to Wellington after a brief stopover in Christchurch today having enjoyed the complete experience of touring South Africa and seeing for himself the geographic beauty of the country and the complex social structure that has emerged in the post-apartheid era.

"It was a great experience, an eye-opening one. I had been into a black township in Cape Town when Bob Woolmer was the Warwickshire coach and we had a pre-season tour there and it was mind-blowing seeing all the little shacks.

"But I hadn't been to Johannesburg before and when we went to Soweto it was better than I thought it would be," he said.

Pitches had been faster and bouncier throughout the Republic than he had expected and they were clearly more suited to the South African bowlers than the New Zealand attack.

It would be a very tough task for the Black Caps going into the Test series.

Allan Donald, his former Warwickshire team-mate, had become a wilier bowler by reducing his speed and developing a good slower ball.

"He'll be hungry for his 300 Test wickets.

"[Roger] Telemachus bowls a heavy ball and he surprised us a little.

"However, the interesting one could be Mfuneko Ngam. He is bowling very quickly and can send it down at 150km, which is 10km/hour faster than Donald is bowling at the moment.

"We didn't face him at all but we did see him in action on television," he said.

The Port Elizabeth player has a lot of support in South Africa and is expected to be a contender for the national Test side.

Twose enjoyed catching up with his former team-mate Donald.

"We're good friends and we always spend time together off the field. But on it we play it hard," he said.

Twose had been expecting he would have to get straight back into the domestic scene playing Shell Super Max semi-finals at the weekend but with the postponement of games leading up to a finals weekend next week he has more time to get his feet back on the ground.

Then it's into the Shell Cup programme to be ready for the Zimbabwean ODI's starting on January 2.