NZ cricket again on sticky wicket

LOGAN SAVORY
Last updated 07:59 22/11/2012

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OPINION: When analysing the Black Caps there has been a transformation from anger to sadness for me.

For years, like many sports followers in this country, I have tried my best to pick through the carcass that is New Zealand cricket and look at where to from here in the many times of despair.

There has been a high level of frustration that our players continually talk themselves up but consistently under-deliver.

The same mistakes time after time are made and the application and fight that we ask from the people representing our country on the international stage hasn't been there.

It has stirred the emotions of many over the years and that anger and disappointment has bubbled over in recent campaigns with the New Zealand cricket team now at rock bottom.

I've found myself angry and, on many occasions, pointing the finger and challenging those in the Black Caps setup as to why we as cricket followers should put up with performances that don't match the players' pay-packets.

Now I'm just sad - sad that this game many of us love is falling apart around us.

The Black Caps are the guardians of our game, the people who are entrusted with inspiring our next generation of cricketers by thrilling kids to the point they want to emulate them on a Saturday morning or afternoon. They play a major role in growing the game whether they like it or not.

They are also the flagship team that New Zealand Cricket needs to drive the commercial side of the sport and they are not providing a lot of pulling power at the moment when the governing body tries to tap into sponsorship dollars.

I fear the side effects of these continually inept displays from our leading team will filter right down to those trying their very best to grow the game at a grassroots level.

This is where that emotion turns from anger to sadness for me - just where all of this will leave the sport across all levels?

People can accept and be proud of our national side if we see improvement and those fighting qualities.

But we have not seen any improvement and certainly, in the last 12 months at least, little fight.

While I struggle to find ways to defend this group of players you do have to wonder if those in charge at New Zealand Cricket are providing the right environment for them to succeed.

Too often talented players go backwards in their development when they are introduced to the national setup.

Coincidence or poor strategy?

Again I head back to Kane Williamson to highlight a key example to this potentially poor strategy. Here is a player who certainly hasn't delivered on the expectations and potential that has been attached to him. Williamson's biggest contribution to New Zealand could be in the test game but officials do not provide him with the best chance to do that.

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I will say it again and I'll continue to say it until I am convinced otherwise - Williamson needs to be restricted in the amount of limited-overs cricket he plays.

He needs to get away from the form of cricket where batsmen are asked to play at every ball and play only cricket where batting time is like gold.

If it's good enough for Michael Clarke it can be good enough for Williamson.

Please, for the sake of our game, sort out this mess once and for all.

- The Southland Times

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