A restless John Wright has had enough of the Black Caps' bleak results. The out-going coach was like a cat on a hot tin roof yesterday, as he tried to talk New Zealand media through his team's so-far ill-fated tour of the Caribbean.
Interviews with the Black Caps have been conducted by teleconference, since they began their limited overs series with the West Indies in Miami, Jamaica and now St Kitts. The team's media man asks a reporter for their question and hands his phone to an interview subject, who responds.
Yesterday an audio file of the conversation with Wright was sent to the media participants, minus the questions and the exchange of the phone. In it, Wright audibly rose to his feet and wandered out of earshot of his media man's recording device every time a curly question cropped up.
"I've just been really working hard on this tour to try and get a result and that's challenging," Wright said from St Kitts, where New Zealand meet the West Indies in the third one-day international of the series starting at 1.30am (NZT) tomorrow.
"It's an interesting time. It's a time when, as a coach, you wrack your brain to try and find the key to the team and various individuals to perform and get that result and try keep the confidence going and I've been pleased with the response of the boys. We are, as I mentioned, playing a pretty good side, but we want to win and we don't want to make any excuses."
Wright had a gilt-edged opportunity to do that yesterday, when New Zealand Cricket director of cricket John Buchanan conceded the team had not had sufficient preparation for this tour.
Wright wanted a pre-tour camp, Buchanan said NZC couldn't afford one, and the team hit the Windies cold.
The result has been 56 and 61-run defeats in two Twenty20 games and now nine-wicket and 55-run losses in the 50-over format. "We've been a bit rusty but we always try and emphasise that it is what it is. No excuses, no explanations, let's just try and get on with it and try to be positive and optimistic about our cricket," said Wright.
To that end, nothing would buoy the Black Caps more than seeing the back of Chris Gayle, at St Kitts' Warner Park. In four innings during this series, the Windies opener has clubbed 85, 53, 63 not out and 125.
"He's put us under enormous pressure from the word go, in the Twenty20s in Miami, and it's allowed players to bat around him," Wright said of Gayle.
"I think he's matured as a player; I mean for instance he hit three reasonably good length deliveries straight back into the grandstand in Jamaica and it's that momentum that gives a side belief and we've just got to find a way to get him out.
"We've got to bowl with a little more bounce and a little more heat and we've got to avoid bowling in that channel ... which allows him to free his arms and hit straight back over the bowler's head. So we're looking at perhaps using a left-armer in the next match, with Trent Boult [likely to play].
"But if we don't get him out, he's going to continue hurting us."
If Boult takes the new ball, Wright hinted that Nathan McCullum or Tarun Nethula might miss out.
HOW THEY LINE UP
What: Third one-day international between the West Indies and New Zealand
Where and when: Warner Park, St Kitts and Sky Sport 2 from 1.30am tomorrow
West Indies (from): Darren Sammy (c), Dwayne Smith, Chris Gayle, Johnson Charles, Lendl Simmons, Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo, Marlon Samuels, Denesh Ramdin, Andre Russell, Tino Best, Sunil Narine, Ravi Rampaul
New Zealand (from): Kane Williamson (c), Martin Guptill, Rob Nicol, Daniel Flynn, Dean Brownlie, BJ Watling, Tom Latham, Jacob Oram, Nathan McCullum, Doug Bracewell, Kyle Mills, Tim Southee, Tarun Nethula, Trent Boult, Brendon McCullum
TAB odds: West Indies $1.20, New Zealand $4.20
- © Fairfax NZ News
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