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Martin Crowe, the former New Zealand captain, has called for a complete overhaul of the way New Zealand are managed after an innings loss in Adelaide that he described as "our worst moment in Test cricket". The defeat at the hands of Australia meant New Zealand fell below West Indies on the ICC Test rankings and they now sit eighth, ahead of only Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.
Crowe said he was so disappointed with the top order's self-destruction that he left the Adelaide Oval at lunch after seeing several batsmen throw their wickets away in a session when they lost 5 for 48 and any hoping of saving the Test. But he did not blame the players, who he believes became increasingly confused under the outgoing coach John Bracewell.
"We've put a coaching regime in place and they have got in the way of the development of these talented cricketers," Crowe said on Radio Sport. "The last five years have been probably the most destructive to our game in the history of our game."
The new coach Andy Moles is taking over ahead of this month's home series against West Indies and Crowe said it was up to Moles to change the culture of the group. Crowe was particularly angry that in recent times the young players were being asked to fill out forms after each day's play and assess their own and each other's performances.
"I'm sorry but this is just not the way you go about allowing sportsmen, allowing cricketers to express themselves and I find it quite sickening to be honest," Crowe said. "You've got to allow cricketers to be themselves, you've got to allow them to be individual and you've got to ask them to be self-sufficient.
"I just want it all cleared out. Give the kids a chance to just be what they can be and I'm sure they'll respond in time. Ross Taylor is a terrific player and he's a hell of a bloke and he wants it badly but you just sense along with his mate Jamie How that they're getting really confused."
New Zealand have had success as a one-day team during Bracewell's five years in charge and are ranked fifth, above England, Sri Lanka and West Indies. But as a Test unit they have struggled to be competitive and have often seemingly still been in a limited-overs mode when patience was required, as it was on the fourth day in Adelaide.
"They looked fearful," Crowe said. "They've gone from showing some signs that they can get in behind the ball but today it was just atrocious. That's a mental thing - that means that someone has got into their mindset and they've got to a point where they can't actually think properly."
However, Crowe was hopeful that a new coaching regime might bring some positive changes. "Let's hope that Andy Moles and Dan Vettori can just put a smile on people's faces and let them have a beer at the end of the day," he said. "Let them relax, let them be human beings."