Buchanan's message: Sort it out yourselves
John Buchanan says the Black Caps need to sort their own mess out before money will be spent on bringing in experts.
Buchanan, New Zealand Cricket's director of cricket, was not mincing words when questioned over what was being done back here in New Zealand to help the embattled national team.
Their dreadful summer will not get easier either. After the ODI series against South Africa, they return home to host the world's No 2 test team, England.
Buchanan has already written a report based largely around his thoughts on the South African tour, specifically their two innings defeats in the test series and the team's deficiencies.
That awaits chief executive David White when he returns from holiday next week.
Buchanan would not go into the report's details, but said bringing in experts on short-term contracts was not necessarily the answer.
First of all, the players and coaching team needed to exhaust every angle themselves, he said.
"I know that Mike Hesson and the coaching group said they've worked hard and trained hard and prepared well. Well, they may have done, but nonetheless the results would suggest otherwise," he said.
He expected the whole Black Caps setup to be looking at everything they've done: their planning, their training and preparation.
"And each individual has to be accountable and be very honest with themselves. And say ‘Am I doing everything I possibly can? Am I ready for the game coming up and, if I'm not, well, what do I do about it and how do I fix that?' "
He conceded making major changes in the middle of a tour was extremely difficult.
"That's the hardest time because you're consumed by negative thinking and basically your attention is drawn to everything that's not going right. And there are a lot of things they're probably doing quite well that can get ignored."
He suggested a back-to-basics approach for each individual would be the best way to address their deficiencies, but said it was important to remember having technical issues was not unique.
"Every team, every player around the world has technical issues; it's just how they compensate for them in games and conditions and how they adjust [that matters]. It also depends on how well the opposition exploit them and South Africa have shown they're very good at exploiting those deficiencies."
Buchanan hoped both players and management were asking themselves: Do they have their processes off the park in order; is their preparation working for them - their fitness, their analysis?
"That will give them more confidence when they get on the field, knowing they've done all the off-field work," he said.
When the side returns from South Africa later this month, Buchanan will meet Hesson.
He said he would wait to see if Hesson had ideas about additions to his support team, but did not believe that was the way forward.
"I'm not sure the additional resource is generally the answer, albeit if there is a real specific purpose like having Chaminda Vaas [in Sri Lanka] that would make sense.
"I'm not against anything that can assist the Black Caps performances, provided there is a really specific reason for it. [But] my view is there are plenty of resources around the team."
By really looking long and hard at themselves, as individuals and as a collective, Buchanan believes the side will return a more competitive outfit and one that understands their own game better.
"Out of the darkest clouds there are some real silver linings that can be gleaned if you're prepared to look for them."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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