Former captain and selector Dion Nash says New Zealand Cricket's problems are worst at the top, where the board is failing in its duty to lead the game in the right direction.
Asked to run the rule over the state of cricket, Nash said the Black Caps' struggles paled in comparison to the board's performance.
He felt David White was an effective chief executive but lacked strong support and direction from chairman Chris Moller's eight-person board, of which Robbie Hart is the only former international player.
"Any board that needs an advisory panel on cricket-specific matters is no board at all," Nash told said.
"What are they there for if they don't know what they're talking about? It's a joke.
"From the outside - and I'm very much on the outside - what's the plan and where are we going? It looks like we're just reacting the whole time and it looks like the Players' Association is driving things and not the board and not NZC."
Nash felt any review in the wake of the Black Caps' dire showing in Sri Lanka, where they tumbled to their fifth consecutive test defeat this week, should be directed at the NZC governance rather than the team.
On the team performance, Nash said it was a simpler fix.
"They just need to score runs. There's a little cultural issue there . . . that if I was in the team, or a few others like Chris Cairns or Stephen Fleming or Nathan Astle, we would just not put up with guys consistently playing the same shots and getting out.
"They're not learning and that needs to be addressed. Just saying ‘That's how I play' is not good enough and not acceptable."
Captain Ross Taylor and Brendon McCullum, the side's best two batsmen and senior men, were the most culpable.
Nash said their presidential-style race for the captaincy after last year's World Cup had caused issues that were still hurting the team. He felt it was time for McCullum to take the reins.
"It's one of the sores that's boiling away, that looks from the outside like it's affecting things. Give Brendon a go and see what he's like under the pressure of it all.
"That whole campaign for the captaincy between those two guys was ridiculous. Captaincy is something that gets bestowed upon you. It's an honour, and it's not something you should be seeking out."
Nash felt the right people were in place in the coaching setup but the messages still needed to be rammed home.
"Shane Bond is a huge asset and they've got to give Mike Hesson time to bed in as coach.
"At times I wonder if he's too close to Brendon. He's a fantastic player and a talent but someone needs to get in his ear and tell him he's not performing well enough and he isn't the top batsman in the world. He's not even the top batsman in our team at the moment, and he's got all the potential to be both but he needs to improve. So does Ross Taylor, so does that whole top five.
"When our best players aren't playing well enough, they're the guys you first need to point the finger at and say: ‘You can change this, and you should'."
Nash said that when Fleming became captain in the late 1990s he had a leadership group of about eight players who made the transition easier. There was leadership potential in the current side and he saw some evidence of it among the young bowling attack.
"I see Tim Southee leading right now and he's one of the younger guys and he's doing a fantastic job and he's only 23. He's leading the bowling attack through his actions and demeanour. I bet he doesn't say much at the captaincy meetings but he's a leader, he's right up there.
"And Trent Boult is one of the guys with steel in his eyes. I see anger at the way the team is going. That gives me heart. Not only is he bowling beautifully, but any day soon he's going to take a bagful of wickets. Right now you can see he's angry and it's about time someone got angry."
The second and final test in Colombo starts on Sunday.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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