Black Caps coach Mike Hesson has declined an opportunity to endorse Ross Taylor as captain of the national side.
Hesson inherited Taylor as his skipper when he succeeded John Wright in July.
A former Otago coach, Hesson has always had strong ties to the only other captaincy candidate, Brendon McCullum.
McCullum would be a fine leader and it is believed Hesson thinks so too.
He reinforced that view when he made this interesting reply to a question about whether New Zealand might follow the lead of other countries and appoint different captains for the various forms of international cricket.
“All I can say is that Ross Taylor is the captain of the Black Caps and that's a board decision, and Ross and I are working pretty hard to get there at this tournament [Twenty20 World Cup in Sri Lanka]."
Read into that what you like. But it sounded a lot like the sort of statement the chairman of an English football club might make, a week before he goes on to announce that the team's manager has been sacked.
Hesson might feel his quote was taken out of context or the question caught him unawares. He would be wrong about the former.
The new coach has quickly revealed himself to be a man who considers questions carefully and then responds. He took a very long time to answer this question about multiple captains and the quote is there for all to see.
Hesson may also feel aggrieved at the timing of this story, given that New Zealand's first match of the Super Eights is tomorrow night.
The Black Caps, who are joined by Sri Lanka, England and the West Indies in group one, have a great chance of advancing to the semifinals.
Questions about the captaincy could also be seen as inappropriate or destabilising. But then Hesson could just as easily have offered no comment.
In the meantime, there is a tournament to be won, starting with Sri Lanka at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium where a display of smart, if not winning cricket, is definitely required.
Hesson rates Sri Lanka as, probably, the tournament favourites, but is less enamoured of the other two.
“The West Indies, they're hot or cold," Hesson said.
He was not in charge when the team lost a Twenty20 series 2-0 to the Windies in June, but said they had all taken heart from it.
“Obviously we played really poorly but we always felt if we got one or two [wickets] early, we could knock them over."
England, meanwhile, do not look too intimidating and were embarrassed by India in pool play, as a spell of 4-12 from offspinner Harbhajan Singh enabled them to be bowled out for 80.
“England, obviously with the way they played spin the other night, hopefully they'll be a little bit more tentative against it, which would be in our favour. But I think Sri Lanka are a top side, so we can't complain about the four we've got [in group one]."
The top two teams from the group will advance to the semifinals and there is no reason why one cannot be New Zealand. They must, however, make sure their best batsmen face as many balls as possible.
Taylor cannot bat lower than four and McCullum should probably open, rather than wait down at first drop.
The red herring is weather and the dreaded Duckworth-Lewis Method.
“To be fair, the Duckworth-Lewis and Twenty20 cricket just don't work," Hesson said.
It was fine for 50-over cricket but not 20 overs, he said.
“They use the same formula for both formats and that completely undervalues the value of a wicket. So the other day, chasing 191 against us, it only made five runs difference if Bangladesh were four down after six overs, as opposed to none down.
“It just doesn't make any sense at all."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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