Editorial - Shame on cricket bosses
Memories remain fresh of a successful era for New Zealand cricket - from 1996 to 2007 - when the Black Caps played 80 tests under Stephen Fleming's captaincy. We won 28 and lost 27.
You've got to go back to the 1980s to find New Zealand captains - Geoff Howarth and Jeremy Coney - who won more tests than they lost. Typically, our test captains lead many more losing teams than winning ones. Until 1955/56, when we beat the West Indies under John Reid, we won no tests at all, and his captaincy in 34 tests yielded just three wins.
We have had 18 test captains since then, including some of our cricketing greats. Martin Crowe led New Zealand in 16 tests, winning two and losing seven; Ken Rutherford led the team in 18 tests, winning two and losing 11; Daniel Vettori was skipper for 13 tests, winning four and losing seven.
Ross Taylor has a better record. Besides being the country's leading batsman, he has led the team in 13 tests, winning four and losing only two.
The reality is that our national cricket teams do not dominate their sport as the All Blacks dominate rugby. We should celebrate their victories, therefore.
Taylor's latest victory (he played a captain's knock in both innings) was in the second test against Sri Lanka, less than a fortnight ago. "There's still a long way to go until we get to where we want to be as a team, and we look forward to that in the months to come," he said afterwards.
Taylor's performance, in the light of this, does not explain the maladroit managerial decisions that have resulted in Brendon McCullum replacing him as captain and his quitting the team on the eve of its tour of South Africa. A breakdown in his relationship with coach Mike Hesson is one factor. But other top New Zealand Cricket officials have played a part in treating him shabbily, too, and he was ignominiously excluded from the Sri Lankan tour debriefing.
He has acknowledged he was not the perfect captain. But who has been? He also said he felt he had improved immeasurably since the tour to Zimbabwe last year and would continue to improve - if only management had allowed him. NZ Cricket stands shamed by its decision not to give him that chance.