Dear John, you know I hate to write ...

Understandably, even hearing or reading the word "rotation" is enough to leave some Kiwi sports fans rocking back and forth in a foetal position on the floor.

It's not as if we need reminding what such a selection policy did for Graham Henry's hopes of All Black world domination four years ago.

But some Kiwi coaches don't seem to be getting the message.

Take the Black Caps at the World Cup in India.

Heading into today's must-win clash with Zimbabwe in Ahmedabad, the Black Caps have played nine one-day matches (admittedly two were warmup fixtures) since John Wright took charge.

But not once has the same playing XI taken the field in consecutive matches. Not once!

Given Wright's only just taken control of this motley crew, a degree of leniency must be afforded to him.

The home series lost to Pakistan was his chance to tinker. And tinker he did by giving all 15 members of his World Cup squad a run.

But once that series was over, we were led to believe that a playing XI had been decided on.

An injury to Kyle Mills put paid to that suggestion in the buildup to the cup, forcing Wright to pick a different side for the tournament opener against Kenya.

But for last Friday's match against Australia, all 15 of the New Zealand players, we are told, were fit and available to take the field.

So why, then, were Mills and all-rounder Jacob Oram, two of the country's more seasoned pros, wearing red vests and running out drinks in Nagpur rather playing?

Hamish Bennett is the new kid on the block. He bowled very well against Kenya to take four wickets and there is a degree of truth that he deserved to play against Australia.

But against big teams at the World Cup – and a vulnerable Australia in particular – you can't go with someone simply on the basis of their form against a team such as Kenya, no matter how good it was.

Mills remains, in my eyes, New Zealand's best strike bowler. Bennett's time will come. But it shouldn't have come in a crucial game at the World Cup when he's so light on experience, and certainly not at the expense of Mills.

And what of the decision to leave Oram on the sideline and replace him with top-order batsman Jamie How at No7 in the order?

The wisdom proffered from that was that How could be a handy asset in facing the new ball after 34 overs. He came in well before the 20th over.

How, as capable and sturdy as he is, should not have been in the team ahead of Oram, and certainly shouldn't have been batting in such an unfamiliar position.

Despite jokes behind closed fists that New Zealand might get upset by Zimbabwe, they won't. They should win and fairly comfortably.

But what's more important is that Wright puts his best XI on the paddock. This is not the time for the team for rotation.

It is the World Cup, after all.


Why have New Zealand yet to field an unchanged one-day team in the John Wright era? Was Kyle Mills a better bet than Hamish Bennett for the match against Australia? Shouldn't Jacob Oram have batted at No7 instead of Jamie How in the same match?

The Dominion Post