Black Caps coach: One-day focus not a problem

Last updated 07:50 07/01/2013
Mike Hesson
Fairfax NZ
BLACK CAPS COACH: Mike Hesson

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Coach Mike Hesson concedes the 2015 cricket World Cup is the New Zealand team's primary focus but denies the test game is suffering as a result.

The coach put his players through their second torrid three-hour session in as many days at the Newlands nets today, the scheduled fifth day of the first test against South Africa.

On another glorious day in Cape Town, local officials would have been cursing the empty seats and many thousands of rand down the drain after their team polished off the tourists in a hurry.

As New Zealand try to make up ground and foot it with the world No 1 side in the second test in Port Elizabeth, starting on Friday, Hesson said the predominance of limited overs cricket and the focus on the big tournament in New Zealand and Australia in two years time wasn't handicapping their test cricket.

"When we're away with the test side that's certainly our focus," he said.

"We don't want to use that as an excuse. There's no doubt that 2015 is a focus as a group but we'll focus on that when the one-dayers come around and even the T20s - we're using that as a way of helping our one-day game.

"In terms of test cricket for players and support staff and fans that's a huge focus. Our test game has been of a poor standard for a pretty long time.

"We have the odd good performance but we're searching for that level of consistency and quite clearly we haven't found that."

Training over the past two days centred on replicating the intensity of South Africa's pace attack which blew New Zealand away for 45, before the hosts completed an innings-and-27-run victory before tea on the third day.

As the sun blazed down today, the pace attack of Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Chris Martin and James Franklin charged in and peppered the New Zealand top order.

The bowling machine was cranked up to high speed and Hesson spent a long period with opener Martin Guptill as the opener tries to regain his test form.

Guptill was an example of someone who struggled to keep his standards high across all three formats.

He struck a matchwinning Twenty20 century in East London before Christmas but the New Zealand cricketer of the year's test form is in the doldrums as he grapples with swing and seam. He scored 1 and 0 in the first test.

Hesson said with a huge amount of cricket being played it was tough to replicate form everywhere.

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"In all three forms with batting you need the fundamentals," he said.

"The reasons you do well in one-dayers and T20s is that you have the foundation of skills. That's the area we need to further develop and get better at.

"With the ball, no doubt in T20 you do release the ball from different positions and you can get in bad habits.

"We're looking at rotating certain guys so that they can get themselves ready for test series and one-day series."

Bracewell will miss the upcoming ODI series to also give him a break after a solid year of non-stop cricket. Bowling coach Shane Bond believes injured test spearhead Tim Southee will also benefit from less T20 cricket.

Test No 3 Kane Williamson is another whose international T20 cricket has been scaled back while Hesson bloods a series of youngsters including Colin Munro, Jimmy Neesham, Corey Anderson and Mitchell McClenaghan.

And rotation will continue. Hesson said it was unrealistic to expect players to play all three formats at international level now.

"Not for a full year, no," he said.

"Year in, year out I think playing all three forms is difficult, especially for bowlers."

The Black Caps have one more day in Cape Town, with several of them playing in Jacques Kallis' charity golf day, before flying to Port Elizabeth on Tuesday.

- Stuff

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