Heath Mills: "When a player is dropped, they're hurting. That's when they need our support more than ever" © Getty Images
Heath Mills, the New Zealand Players' Association chief, has criticised the national selectors for failing to be compassionate to players dropped from the team. Though Mills would not name any players hurt by unexpected exclusions, he said at such a time it was important for selectors to communicate with them.
"When a player is dropped, they're hurting," Mills told NZPA. "That's when they need our support more than ever. That's when communication has to be at its best.
"You've got a team of kids who are trying to gel and it's important to treat with them with compassion when things don't go well. It's effectively the same situation as someone losing their job if they miss the side."
Last month fast bowler Chris Martin had expressed his disappointment at being left out of the squad for the home series against West Indies. "They [selectors] are picking guys who are in form and they have told me they want someone to run in and ruffle the tailenders," Martin said. "Dizzy [Mark Gillespie] is good at that and I didn't do that in Adelaide. We struggled to clean out their lower order, but I felt I opened the door a few times against them in the series with top-order wickets."
Mills believed some of the lack of communication stemmed from the restructuring of the board in June last year. Geoff Allott is yet to take on his role as New Zealand's general manager of cricket and Mills said that had "probably created a big hole".
"Clearly we've had a transition in staff who may not have understood what the requirements were in terms of good communication. In the last six-seven years in cricket it's been a lot better than it was but just lately there's been a couple of blips. We're working on that with New Zealand Cricket and we're going to smooth it out and get it back to where we need to be."
Glenn Turner, the chief selector, admitted the system of communication was not perfect but said the selectors made a real effort to call players after the squad had been announced. "It has happened where we have meant to ring somebody and we haven't," Turner said. "Chris [Martin] was actually on our list and we didn't get to him. I've called him since and we've talked about it. He's quite happy with the call and what was said."