Doull: Black Caps have power, poise to trouble

SIMON DOULL
Last updated 05:00 05/01/2014

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OPINION: The power of this Black Caps batting lineup is going to shock and scare many teams over the next two years. That much has been clearly evident from the ODI series, which we now lead 2-1 over the down-on-confidence West Indies.

We need to keep encouraging these guys to play an aggressive style of cricket. That will win us more games than we will lose. There's no point in being conservative. We have Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor who are genuine players. Around them we have a lot of power - Corey Anderson, Jesse Ryder, Brendon and Nathan McCullum and Martin Guptill - and we'd be silly not to use it. That's what we want from our World Cup side.

I like the way this side is coming together, particularly our top six that can genuinely scare opposition.

It's always tough to come back in a series when you go 1-0 down. Although it was a shortened game in Queenstown, we showed some real intent. Brendon McCullum set that up.

It's good to see different players are standing up. We're not relying solely on one person. We did a little bit in the test series. Taylor carried us there. He shouldered a lot of that burden.

Seeing Ryder come into form was brilliant. He wasn't at his best during his century in Queenstown, or with 47 in Nelson yesterday, but after failing in Auckland he reminded us how good he can be. That was backed up by a special innings from Anderson, who really put his hand up with that incredible world record ton. He is a genuine hitter of the ball.

We also haven't seen the best of wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi yet but I'm sure this summer he will play an innings that will change the course of the game.

While our batting line-up is firing, I'm not convinced by the bowling attack.

I'd like to see speedster Adam Milne given more opportunities. When it comes to having sides five or six down at the death, a guy who bowls a 150km thunderbolt is a really tough prospect for a lot of tail enders. Those who bowl 130-135km are not. To me, that's what the bowling attack could do with.

With Tim Southee and Kyle Mills there's a little bit of predictability. Throw in Mitchell McClenaghan at the top, that's our genuine wicket-taker. But we need to leave out Southee or Mills to try for that extra pace. You've got plenty of spinning options and Anderson as your back-up seamer.

The bowling attack is not quite there.

We haven't seen enough of Milne. They said he was going to get a chance after giving his guts in Sri Lanka and India and they were going to reward him on some faster, bouncier wickets. Well, we haven't seen that. He got two overs right at the death in Queenstown and then he was dropped yesterday.

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They need to give him a crack with the new ball and see if he can do the job Mills or Southee is doing at the moment. Only if you give him two or three games will we be able to tell if he's up to it.

The final ODI in Hamilton should be another comfortable win. We need to keep the confidence rolling heading towards the Twenty20s and the Indian series.

The West Indies are a team that's down and out. Their batting has lacked a high-class figure. They've got six players sitting at home that would play in their first-choice team. But someone has to stand up for them in Hamilton.

After some frustrating weather, let's also hope we get a 50-over game.

- Sunday News

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