Demoted Tim Southee finds help from within
With the seemingly endless rotation of coaches for the New Zealand cricket team set to continue, one player is taking matters into his own hands.
After being axed from the test team last summer after losing his zip, Tim Southee didn't run to Black Caps bowling coach Damien Wright for a quick fix. Instead he took on a far more hands-on role in his own game, learning all about his strengths and weaknesses.
The theory is, he says, instead of juggling through often conflicting advice from different coaches, he wants to know his game so well, he can recognise when things aren't working as well as they should be, and fix them before they cost him a spot in the team.
Wright's advice was still sought, but in more of a consultation role.
"Although you've got bowling coaches and batting coaches, it's just about making sure you're a self coach and know if these little things start to creep in then you can fix them, and it doesn't turn into a bad habit because, before you know it, you've been left out of the side."
It's all part of the 23-year-old's plan to get back into the New Zealand test side, then not get dropped as he was in March, just one test into the three-test series against South Africa.
"It's not a nice feeling being left out," he said. "It's been a kick up the backside for me."
Southee and his fellow Black Caps pace bowlers head to Brisbane tomorrow for a stint of outdoor work with Wright before joining the rest of the side heading to the West Indies via Florida at the end of the month.
But Southee will leave after the T20 and ODI stops on the tour as he's still not required in the test team.
New Zealand Cricket national selection manager Kim Littlejohn previously told The Press there was room for another bowler to play their way into the test side with strong limited-overs performances on tour.
That fact had clearly not been communicated to the players as Southee was unaware of what could be his test lifeline, but said regaining his spot was high on his priority list and confirmed he'd done plenty of work to sort his problems out.
"I just needed to change a couple of things in my action," he said.
"It wasn't major, I was just rushing through the crease. I'm more of a rhythm bowler but I was trying to muscle it down so I was losing the bounce I get and the swing and just bowling along the track."
He's now sending the ball down with far more gusto than when he was dropped in March.
Southee said it was difficult too for someone like Wright, who hadn't spent a lot of time with the side and "he hasn't seen me bowl at my best".
They stay in contact via email and Southee sends Wright video of him bowling.
"So I now just go to him and say, `can you look out for this' or say `listen, can you let me know if this is creeping in'," he said.
"But it's pretty hard, in the four years I've been with the side we've had at least four different bowling coaches."
He's taken his self-coaching lead from senior players like Daniel Vettori and Brendon McCullum.
"They know their game inside out and that's the key, knowing what you need to do and recognising the little hiccups so they don't turn into major problems."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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