Too much ego, not enough talent in Black Caps

Last updated 05:00 21/10/2010

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OPINION: Call me crazy but I actually think the Black Caps' embarrassing four-zip loss to Bangladesh last week was positive for the sport.

For an ardent cricket follower like myself, watching the sport get the fun poked at it because of that debacle hurt.

However, I believe in the long run it is exactly what is needed to shift the mindset of the sport in New Zealand.

In recent years, New Zealand have gradually got worse by developing more and more bad habits in the cricket circle.

The way many of the players have conducted themselves has also been embarrassing.

Our leading players went about their business with their noses up in the air and growing egos alongside them, unaware that most of them were overpaid and under-delivered more often than not.

It took this series whitewash – against a country regarded as the bunnies in world cricket – for a needle to be poked into the balloon that is the egos of our top cricketers.

It starts with millionaire batsman Brendon McCullum, who has a Pams-like budget brand batting record as a opener.

McCullum simply doesn't come off enough at the top of the order in a 50-50 game, and the way he gets out is too reckless for him to continue to go on as an opener in the longer, limited-overs format.

The good news is as a result of the Bangladesh nightmare it is understood he will shift back down to No 7 in the batting order for 50-over-a-side cricket.

His ability to pick gaps and his speed between the wickets once made him a brilliant matchwinner late in an innings and will again if he does shift back down the order.

For what my view is worth, at the top of the order they need to head the way of Jesse Ryder and Aaron Redmond, who offer a more conventional approach to opening but still have the ability to score at a good rate.

Both of them, however, have had off-field attitude problems, which need to be knocked into shape.

This isn't a McCullum family witch-hunt but my belief is Brendon's older brother Nathan's international career needs to have a line put through it if New Zealand is going to progress.

He's a bits-and-pieces cricketer who I don't believe will win games for the Black Caps.

Nathan is outstanding in the field but if we look at his core skills as a batsman and a bowler, he is limited.

As a batsman he's nothing but a good tailend batsman and as a bowler his status is probably along the lines of all right part-timer.

Australian batsman Michael Clarke offers more with the ball than Nathan McCullum does.

For New Zealand to be successful, we need to possess more specialists, not bits-and-pieces cricketers who are just all right at batting and all right at bowling.

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When I talked egos earlier in this column, I see Nathan McCullum as the key offender.

Despite offering little on the field against Sri Lanka recently and then again last week against Bangladesh, he continued to get himself into unnecessary conflicts with opposition players.

He acted like a spoilt brat and played like a chump.

- The Southland Times

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