OPINION: Just when we thought gaffes from New Zealand Cricket (NZC) were becoming a thing of the past, another issue rears up. This time the issue affects our domestic game.
According to reports, NZC initially told Northern Districts that Tim Southee, Kane Williamson and Corey Anderson were allowed to play in last Friday's domestic Twenty20 semi-final against Canterbury in Hamilton.
Then, last week, they had a change of heart and came back to ND and told them the international players, Williamson aside, couldn't play because they needed to rest ahead of the Black Caps' one-day series against India, which starts in Napier today.
New Zealand Cricket (NZC) have got this one completely wrong by pulling these guys out.
If you're going to ask sponsors to pay good money to look after our domestic competitions, you've got to use every opportunity you can get to get your international players involved.
Australia are doing it really well with the Big Bash league. Look at Aaron Finch. He scored 121 for Australia in the first one-dayer against England in Melbourne, and two days later he was playing for his franchise team. Two nights later, he's back with the international set-up.
This happens all around the world. I remember a situation where a number of Titans (based in Gauteng) players took to the pitch a day after an international Twenty20.
It's not an issue of workloads either. Southee has had time off from the game recently, and hasn't bowled more than 20 overs in the last two weeks. You can't tell me that four more overs for ND on Friday night would have done any harm. Kane Williamson is in a similar boat, just with the bat, and it's good to see he played. Any time in the middle - whether it be a Twenty20 match or not - is going to be a positive for them. I can perhaps understand the decision to rest Anderson. He's had a full-on last month with the Black Caps.
That one-day hundred down in Queenstown, if you include the public and media hype of it all, would have taken a bit out of him.
If the players want to play under silly circumstances, I can understand resting them. But this situation isn't one of them.
■ Adam Milne's pace for the Black Caps in Auckland last week was a continuation of work he has put in with Central Districts and Shane Bond. The one thing New Zealand have been lacking for a long time is a genuine strike bowler, especially in 50-over cricket.
Mitchell McClenaghan is good - he has taken wickets - but he has that wild element to his bowling too. Tim Southee and Kyle Mills are very similar, and more like your second and third seamers. If you're in that middle period and desperately need a wicket or need someone to clean up the tail, you need that strike power. Express pace is a crucial element in that.That is what Milne can offer us. He's not going to bowl 150km every game - and I hope people don't expect that. It's not within him at the moment. But he's got that ability to bowl the quick ones. We have to harness that, especially with an eye to the World Cup next year.While we're on the Black Caps, I want to touch on the performances of Luke Ronchi last week. He was under a lot of pressure to perform for the Black Caps, and after having a yarn with him after the Wellington Twenty20 against the Windies, you could sense the relief. I think we're going to see things continue to lift for him from here.
There has been some talk about getting BJ Watling into the one-day team, and leaving Ronchi as the Twenty20's-only specialist keeper. I think the mix is right at the moment - let's keep Ronchi in the one-dayers. He adds that late middle-order power. I like Watling. He's a terrific cricketer and can step up if the incumbent gets injured. But for now, let's keep our faith with Ronchi.
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