Batsmen need to kick on - Canterbury coach
The Canterbury cricket team's batsmen need to start converting starts into big scores if they Are going to win the Plunket Shield, says coach Gary Stead.
"It's not rocket science," Stead said. "A batsman's currency is runs. All season we've been getting a lot of starts without guys kicking on and getting big ones."
Canterbury retain the Plunket Shield lead despite a seven-wicket towelling by Otago last week in Dunedin.
They start their seventh game of the 10-round competition tomorrow against Northern Districts, in Gisborne, and the emphasis will be on those batsmen who get themselves in, kicking on.
In six games, only two batsmen have passed 100 for Canterbury. Andrew Ellis clearly enjoyed deputising for Peter Fulton as captain and scored 142 and 109 while in charge, while Tom Latham has been a run machine all four-day season and scored 241no against Wellington to go with his four half centuries in just four games.
Canterbury have scored just three of the 30 centuries scored in the competition.
Twenty half centuries, however, marks a strong return, but the conversion rate isn't good enough.
That said, the side is still 11-points clear at the top of the table. They've bowled well throughout and have made do with cameos and starts throughout the order.
Stead wants his batsmen to step up further, though.
It's a tough thing to teach; all batsmen want to score runs and converting 50s to 100s isn't something you can practice anywhere but in the middle.
"It's about working with who you're batting with and working in partnerships," Stead said.
"Some guys do it with goals about runs, or balls, or time, or overs. Whatever works, it comes down to making good decisions."
Keeping concentration throughout the innings was also key.
"Batsmen at time tend to think they need to change gears when they get to a certain point, but the best batsmen in the world, the most successful, they just keep batting at the same pace."
Canterbury's only change is to bring back Henry Nicholls, who missed the loss to Otago because of a family bereavement, and George Worker drops out of the 12.
Northern Districts sit bottom of the six-team table. They've named test players Trent Boult, Ish Sodi and BJ Watling in their side.
Canterbury: Peter Fulton (c), Todd Astle, Dean Brownlie, Brad Cachopa, Andrew Ellis, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Ryan McCone, Henry Nicolls, Rob Nicol, Shanan Stewart, Logan van Beek.
Northern Districts: Daniel Flynn (c), Graeme Aldridge, Trent Boult, Joe Carter, Scott Kuggeleijn, Daryl Mitchell, Bharat Popli, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Anurag Verma, BJ Watling, Brad Wilson.
Points: Canterbury 67, Wellington 56, Otago 55, Auckland 44, Central Districts 44, Northern Districts 36.