More of the same would be what Jamie Siddons expects from the Black Caps on their two-test tour of India.
Thrashed 2-0 by the West Indies in their most recent series, New Zealand face an even more difficult assignment when they meet India in the first test at Hyderabad, starting on Thursday.
Siddons, the former Bangladesh and now Wellington coach, wasn't glued to every ball beamed back from the Caribbean. But he saw enough to form some pretty strong hunches about what will now transpire in India.
"I think they were very much underdone - that was probably the biggest thing you could tell. The players weren't ready for the contest and the West Indies were," Siddons said.
"They'll be a little bit better prepared now, but they're coming up against a far, far better opponent. It's going to be difficult.
"I've got my opinions about where we need to go in this country to get better and I've got 15 [Wellington] players that are listening at the moment. Hopefully I can produce a couple of good players for the Black Caps in a year or two."
A few months back it appeared as if Siddons might get an opportunity to impart his knowledge upon the Black Caps themselves. John Buchanan had sounded Siddons out about taking over New Zealand's one-day programme, which the Wellington coach was considering.
But once Mike Hesson succeeded John Wright as head coach, and appointed Bob Carter as batting coach, the former said that meant there would be no role for Siddons.
"Look, I don't know mate," Siddons said.
"Bob Carter's obviously the batting coach, so that's fine. We'll keep the batting coach in Wellington."
Siddons might be left in Wellington, but two of his Firebirds players are in the test squad of 15. Jeetan Patel will be the senior spinner in the side, while James Franklin has earned a recall to the middle order.
"I'm pretty confident they'll do well, especially Jeets. He's bowling really well and if he gets his confidence up and gets confidence from the new staff around him, I think he'll go really well," Siddons said.
Patel has been in career-best form for his English county team, Warwickshire. The 32-year-old took seven for 75 against Somerset a month ago and claimed four scalps in each innings of his most recent first-class match.
"When he's getting turn he's a good bowler and he just needs to be put in the right conditions. We don't tend to have that over here."
And what Franklin needs is a bit of love and an extended run in the side, Siddons said.
"A lot of cricketers around the world still play aggressively and confidently in test cricket and have real success.
"Franky's got to take that mentality and play his natural game and not be inhibited by the fact it's a red ball."
Closer to home, Siddons has likened Wellington's newest recruit, Dane Hutchinson, to Black Caps new-ball bowler Doug Bracewell.
At 25, Hutchinson was still relatively raw, Siddons said, but had the tools and attitude to make a success of his transition from Brisbane grade cricket to the New Zealand first-class season.
Mark Gillespie, meanwhile, is back bowling off a short run, after an ankle injury ruled him out of the Black Caps' winter tours.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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