After an interval of seven years the New Zealanders returned to England, but they had to share the touring programme with the South Africans who came for the second half of the season. This was the first time Such an arrangement had been attempted since the unsuccessful triangular tournament between England, Australia and South Africa in 1912.
The New Zealanders showed foresight in making a round-the-world tour. Leaving Auckland in mid-February they undertook seven Tests, four in India and three in Pakistan, before they arrived in England towards the end of April. They hoped that a thorough trial in other countries would provide valuable experience and excellent match practice prior to tackling their main objective in England.
Given a fine summer, this should have worked out well, but as on their last visit in 1958, the New Zealanders were unfortunate to find the English climate at its very worst and the pitches they played on proved vastly different from those in India and Pakistan.
Indeed, at the end of the tour, John Reid, the captain, stated that apart from a few places like Lord's, Fenner's and the Kent grounds, the wickets had deteriorated to an astonishing degree compared with those he met in 1949 and 1958.
Besides the rain, the New Zealanders also had to contend with some bitterly cold days, notably during the first Test at Edgbaston where hot coffee was served on the field to both teams.
From a financial point of view the tour of England was a failure as there was a loss of £4,000, but happily this deficit was offset by the takings in India and Pakistan so that when they reached home in August they were able to show a small profit.
The first-class matches numbered 19 and that as many as 11 were left drawn could be attributed mainly to the bad weather. The side were outplayed by England in the three Tests and, after beating Gloucestershire in their third game, they did not win again until they mastered Scotland and Ireland at the end of the tour. In addition to losing to England they also went down to Lancashire, Yorkshire, and Warwickshire.
As in 1958, weakness in batting and spin bowling proved the main obstacles in their search for success. Their strength lay in the presence of four excellent pace bowlers, Motz, Collinge, Taylor and Cameron, but the lack of top-class variety in the attack was particularly noticeable in the Test Matches where a left-arm slow bowler with the steadiness and accuracy that T.B. Burst showed in 1949 would have been invaluable.
At the age of 19, Collinge, left-arm, tall and strong, possessed genuine speed and he should be a force in New Zealand cricket over the next ten years.
Taylor, 21 when the tour began, was a natural quick bowler. A surprise choice, with only three first-class matches behind him, Taylor, a punishing left-handed bat, hit his maiden first-class century on his Test debut at Calcutta and then proceeded to take five India first innings wickets for 86. Can anyone match Taylor's all-round performance in his first Test?
Cameron, 33 on June 1, proved a wily experienced medium-fast bowler with varied swing and a stubborn number 11 batsman who, dismissed only twice, headed the batting averages. Justice is done to Motz in the earlier pages of this edition where he deservedly appears as one of the Five Cricketers of the Year.
Lack of consistency by the batsmen, due mainly that as they went from match to match they never knew how the pitch would behave, accounted largely for the number of small first innings totals. Moreover Reid, who should have inspired his side, seldom showed his true form owing to a damaged knee cartilage which also prevented him taking any major share of the bowling.
This threw an unnecessary burden on all the other members of the team, none of whom had played previously in England. Considering that six each made one century and six others passed 50 it was clear that the side possessed batting talent.
None did better than the 19-year-old Victor Pollard who left school only the previous year. Chosen mainly for his ability to bowl off-breaks, he turned out the batting find of the tour. Blessed with a cool temperament, and an easy style, Pollard with 4 and 81 not out at Edgbaston, 55 and 55 at Lord's and 33 and 53 at Headingley had the highest aggregate in the Tests, 281, the next best being Dowling with 197.
Dowling, vice-captain, looked a most competent opening batsman. Congdon, with a rugged style, at times hit freely as did Morgan and Motz. For daintiness and sheer grace, the diminutive fair-haired Sinclair had no superior and he too excelled at cover.
It was hoped that their great left-hander, Bert Sutcliffe, who emerged from retirement at the age of 41 would provide middle steadiness. Before he arrived in England he showed all his old brilliance in hitting 151 not out against India in Calcutta, but in the first Test at Edgbaston he was laid low by a bouncer from Trueman and took little further part in the tour, although he wound up with another fine century against Ireland in Belfast.
The team possessed two capable wicket-keepers in Ward and Dick.
Graham Vivian, a son of H.G. Vivian, who toured England in 1931 and 1937, got his place at the age of 19, in a last minute search for a leg spinner only to find the pitches unsuitable.
Jarvis, another youngster, was plagued by illness contracted in India and had few opportunities to show his qualities as a staunch opening batsman.
There can be no question that these young New Zealanders learned a great deal and providing their next visit is not too long delayed they should fare much better at the second attempt. Mr. Walter Hadlee, captain of the 1949 team, was a popular and efficient manager wherever the New Zealanders went.
NEW ZEALAND RESULTS
Test Matches -- Played 3, Lost 3.
First-class Matches -- Played 19, Won 3, Lost 6, Drawn 10.
All Matches -- Played 21, Won 4, Drawn 11.
Wins -- London New Zealanders, Gloucestershire, Scotland, Ireland.
Losses -- England (3), Lancashire, Yorkshire, Warwickshire.
Draws -- Duke of Norfolk's XI, Worcestershire, M.C.C., Nottinghamshire, Cambridge University, Glamorgan, Surrey, Somerset, Oxford Universty, Kent, Northamptonshire.